Investigations fault HIV/AIDS cure claims

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

A two-year claim of an HIV/AIDS cure by 12 Nigerians has been found false in an investigation conducted by the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), officials said on Wednesday.

The House of Representatives Committee on Health directed the investigations in 2000 after intense controversy was generated by the claims from both orthodox and unorthodox medical practitioners. Trials were subsequently conducted on 120 HIV/AIDS patients in nine centres across Nigeria.

“The safety of all substances presented by the claimants was ascertained in two laboratory animals – rats and mice,” Ufot Inyang, head of NIPRD, said while submitting his report.

“The relative increase in viral load level after three months of treatment with each herbal preparation was greater than 10-fold, showing that the agents had no effect on the virus,” he added.

Inyang however said some of the preparations were effective against some clinical symptoms associated with HIV/AIDS and opportunistic infections, such as diarrhoea, oral thrush and rashes. He said while some patients experienced weight gain, others lost weight. One particular preparation was effective in lowering blood pressure.

According to the report, two prominent claimants, Jeremiah Abalaka and Jacob Abdullahi, refused to submit their preparations for investigation.

Willie Ogbeide, chairman of the House Committee, who received the report, said his committee was satisfied with the result of the investigations and would act on it.

“The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, now has the power to prosecute anybody claiming to have the cure or vaccines against HIV/AIDS,” he added.

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