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Kampala, Jan 29 : Uganda started a clinical trial of a drug locally developed to treat Covid-19.

The country's president Yoweri Museveni launched the trial here on Wednesday which will involve 128 Covid-19 patients admitted at the Mulago National Referral Hospital, Xinhua news agency reported.

The drug, a natural chemotherapeutic product developed by the Natural Chemotherapeutics Research Institute has undergone a series of vigorous scientific approvals, according to the presidential think tank on epidemics (PRESIDE).

"We are witnessing the first clinical trial of a highly scientific process to analyze and validate a natural product anticipated to have antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and immunological ability," the PRESIDE statement said.

"The clinical trial will validate the content, standardization and replication of the product after which it will be rolled out for industrial production and widespread use," the statement added.

The think tank said the drug, coded UBV-01N, will be the first Ugandan natural chemotherapeutic product to go through an international level clinical trial process.

Uganda is grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic with cases quickly surging. The Ministry of Health figures show that as of January 25, the country had a cumulative total of 39,261 Covid-19 cases, 14,051 recoveries, and 318 deaths since the first case was registered in March 2020.

 Latest updates on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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