The main purpose of CONAT is to establish an adaptive clinical trial platform that will support the rapid evaluation of safety and efficacy of several medicinal products of natural/traditional/herbal origin in the treatment of diseases in Uganda, starting with acute respiratory viral infections including COVID-19. The trial platform is managed by an independent multidisciplinary team of clinical trial experts coordinated at the Makerere University Lung Institute clinical trials unit.

CONAT is premised on the increasing role of herbal remedies for the management of diseases. The role of herbal medicine in treatment of diseases such as viral infections is well documented. This role increasingly became apparent during the COVID-19 epidemic. We hypothesize that certain natural medicines have beneficial effects in the treatment and management of acute respiratory viral infections (ARVI) including COVID-19. The use of herbal/natural remedies is as old as history, and across generations, communities around the world have used and continue to use herbal/natural medicines whether legally and or conventionally approved or not.

The African centres for disease control (Africa CDC) has issued a statement to member states by providing 7 guiding statements and statement number 3  reads: “Support the conduct of GCP and good participatory practice guidelines (GPPC) – compliant research to validate the safety and efficacy of the herbal-based traditional medicines”, calling for the conduct GCP clinical trials to support the use of herbal remedies. In Uganda several remedies are being used and currently, the first efficacy assessment clinical trial on an herbal product is underway.