This work aims to explore the epidemiological status of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and assemblage of various plant species that have prophylactic or therapeutic potentials on the disease. Epidemiological data were obtained from various health authorities worldwide and articles (totaling 103) published in standard journals from 2002-2020 on medicinal plants used in treating the disease and similar diseases. Epidemiological records of COVID-19 regional epidemic in Africa as of 29th July, 2020 indicated South Africa as the epicenter of the disease; its continental index case was in Egypt on 14th February, 2020. This was transmitted via an individual with traveling history from highly COVID burdened nations. Recent records revealed that the new cases of the disease have started trending locally with a person to person contact especially among those without travel history. There were about 874,036 cases in Africa with about 18,498 deaths recorded within the time frame of this study. The age groups mostly affected were 20-49 years with males’ frequency marginally surpassing that of females. Seventy-five medicinal plant species from 41 families were recorded. Identified plants are indigenous to both the tropical and subtropical regions. Their medicinal potentials for treating human viral diseases are well described in Africa. Family Lamiaceae have the highest number of plant species (14.6%) used in managing COVID-19 and other related diseases. Asteraceae (12.3%) and Apiaceae (9.7%) families ranked second and third, respectively. Further studies on these plants with promising anti-SARS-CoV 2 properties on different experimental models for subsequent development of nutraceuticals and herbal medicine is imperative.
Key words: Coronavirus, COVID-19, Africa, epidemiology, medicinal plants.
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