Nigeria might be set for a big time world recognition following an announcement by Professor Francis Otunta, the Vice Chancellor (VC), Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, that the the institution has discovered a new drug which is potent for the treatment and cure of HIV/AIDS.
The VC made the disclosure while speaking to newsmen at the university campus on Wednesday, February 1, saying that the discovery was the reward of many years of scientific research by the institution.
According to him, the breakthrough was made by a researcher in the university, Prof. Maduike Ezeibe who had already presented the drug to the University management, Senate and Council, explaining the processes he went through to arrive at his finding.
Otunta also stated that Ezeibe had equally presented the drug to his colleagues in the medical field and nobody had contradicted his finding. He said:
“Prof. Ezeibe is a researcher in Veterinary Medicine and one may wonder how he discovered a drug to cure a human ailment.”
Commending Ezeibe for the breakthrough the University head said:
“He has brought honour to the University and we are proud of him.”
Speaking further, Professor Francis Otunta said that the institution was in the process of producing the drug in mass quantity for more clinical trials on persons living with HIV/AIDS in the country.
The drug was produced with Aluminum Silicate and Magnesium Silicate (Synthetic Aluminum-Magnesium Silicate), revealed Ezeibe himself, who is a professor of Veterinary Medicine and Clinical Virology. The two minerals “are already in use as medicines for the treatment of various animal and human diseases”, he added.
The professor went on to disclose that 10 persons living with the disease, “who volunteered’’, were made to apply through their doctor to the VC and they were treated daily with the Medicinal Synthetic Aluminum-Magnesium Silicate (50 mg/kg).
He also said that the volunteers were subjected to monthly tests for viral loads and CD4-lymphocyte counts. He noted:
“With the antiviral effects of the medicine, its ability to reach all cells (as nanoparticles) and the lymphocytes, there is no more hiding place (sanctuary) for HIV.”
According to Ezeibe, the medicine had been used to potentiate Ampicilin, Chloroquine, Piperazine and Sulphadimidin, among others, and could be a major foreign exchange earner for Nigeria, if approved by relevant authorities because ‘local and international medical companies will find the product as a veritable raw material’.
Concerning the drug, Ezeibe said he presented the research findings to the World Virology Conference in Atlanta in 2015, and Antonio (Texas) in 2016 and the results of the laboratory tests had been published in many international scientific journals, including the British Journal of Medicine and Medical Research, among several others. He is also about to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with a U.S.-based Scientific Research Publishing, publishers of World Journal of AIDS, for the publication of his book; ‘How I came about the cure for HIV/AIDS’.
Calling on the Federal Government to help him to secure international patency for the drug which was patented in August 2014 in Nigeria, the Professor said:
“If commercialised, the Medicinal Synthetic Aluminum-Magnesium Silicate would become an alternative for petroleum to the Nigerian economy.”