COVID-19 Journalist Guidance: How to report on traditional medicines and COVID-19


Scientists around the world are trying to develop what is often referred to as a “science-based medicine” to stop the spread of COVID-19. The treatment of COVID-19 is not only a healthcare priority, it is also big business and when money is involved so too are lots of rumours and misinformation about so-called cures.

Since many people rely on what is often referred to as “traditional medicine” for their healthcare needs, rumours and misinformation about how a certain plant can prevent or even cure COVID-19 have also spread like the virus. People may be convinced to waste their money on unproven treatments, may unknowingly take a dangerous herbal mixture, or may risk infecting others in the community by not following preventative measures like mask wearing.

So how can traditional medicine be included in science-based medicine efforts to end this pandemic? Some traditional medicines have already been tested by science-based medicine and proven to reduce symptoms of other diseases. The next step is for some of these proven traditional medicines to undergo science-based medicine testing to see if they can be part of the solution.

It is the role of the journalist to keep the public informed about each step of this complicated process of science-based medicine testing traditional medicine to fight COVID-19.