The Federal Government has ordered a proper investigation into the claim by a Nigerian university Professor to have discovered the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus, HIV cure.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said the National Institute for Medical Research and the College of Medicine, Ibadan have been mandated to carry out the directive.
Adewole disclosed this on Monday in Ilorin at the Federal Government Town Hall meeting for the North Central Zone, while fielding questions from pressmen.
Stressing that discovering a cure to the deadly disease would be of public health interest to the country, Adewole however added that there were modalities recognised globally for disclosure of a cure which must be followed. He said:
“What we need to do is to make sure that things are done properly. The process to undertake is the animal experiment to be sure it is efficacious and safe before moving to human. At the appointed time when we have the results, we shall come public.”
Recall that last week, a research Professor Maduike Ezeibe, from Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, had claimed to have discovered a new drug potent for the treatment and cure of HIV/AIDS.
Prof. Ezeibe who is a professor of Veterinary Medicine and Clinical Virology in the university said the drug was produced with Aluminum Silicate and Magnesium Silicate (Synthetic AluminumMagnesium Silicate), and was tested on ten persons living with HIV.
Meanwhile, the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) have dismissed Prof. Maduike Ezeibe’s claims.
In a joint statement on Monday, the Director-General, NACA, Dr. Sani Aliyu, and Chief Executive Officer NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, said there was no evidence that ethical clearance from an appropriate body in Nigeria was obtained to conduct the study, and only ambiguous evidence that informed consent was sought from the evidently vulnerable patients.
They said there is really no basis for a claim to cure of AIDS in the study and are concerned that the publicity given to this claims will stop patients with HIV from taking life-saving anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) and give them false hope of a cure.
Both agencies said it will be a great disservice to vulnerable group of patients for the media to disseminate this claims in the absence of sound scientific evidence. This is because there are long established, tried and tested routes for the discovery, development and validation of modern medicines before they can be registered and used for treatment in humans and animals.
NACA and NCDC called on all academics to follow legal and scientifically acceptable methods in conducting their research and to avoid making premature claims capable of derailing the huge progress made in the last two decades on the war against HIV/AIDS.
The government agencies said millions of lives have been saved as a result of modern antiretroviral treatment and people living with HIV can now look forward to a normal healthy future. They, however, said they will continue to support the hard and diligent work being done by scientists in Nigerian universities and research institutions around the country.
While pledging to support the evolution of robust science journalism in Nigeria, NACA and NCDC called on editors of media houses in Nigeria to seek comments from the leadership of relevant government parastatals and professional bodies when it receives new research findings related to their areas of responsibility.
Read Also: No More Condoms! HIV Cure Finally Found
They noted that in the run-up to the next deadline, it is easy to fall into the trap of doing more harm than good, and the consequences of this can be deadly in the health sector. They also called on all patients living with HIV that are currently taking their medications to continue to do so and to see their doctors if they have any concern.