By Sam Oditah
Prof. Francis Otunta, the Vice Chancellor (VC), Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, in Abia, has confirmed the discovery of a new drug for the treatment and cure of HIV/AIDS.
Otunta told newsmen at the university campus on Wednesday that the finding followed years of scientific research by the institution.
He said that the breakthrough was made by Prof. Maduike Ezeibe, a researcher in the university.
According to him, Ezeibe had presented the drug to the University management, Senate and Council, where he explained the processes he went through to arrive at his finding.
The VC also said that Ezeibe had equally presented the drug to his colleagues in the medical field and nobody had contradicted his finding.
“Prof. Ezeibe is a researcher in Veterinary Medicine and one may wonder how he discovered a drug to cure a human ailment,” he said.
He commended Ezeibe for the breakthrough, saying: “He has brought honour to the University and we are proud of him.”
Otunta said that the university was in the process of mass producing the drug for further clinical trials on persons living with HIV/AIDS in the country.
Ezeibe, who is a professor of Veterinary Medicine and Clinical Virology, said that the drug was produced with Aluminum Silicate and Magnesium Silicate (Synthetic Aluminum-Magnesium Silicate).
He said that the two minerals “are already in use as medicines for the treatment of various animal and human diseases”.
He said that 10 persons living with the disease, “who volunteered’’, were made to apply through their doctor to the VC.
“They were treated daily with the Medicinal Synthetic Aluminum-Magnesium Silicate (50 mg/kg),” he said.
Ezeibe said that the volunteers were subjected to monthly tests for viral loads and CD4-lymphocyte counts.
“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,” he said.
He said that 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.
According to him, “local and international pharmaceutical companies would find the product as a veritable raw material”.
Ezeibe said that he presented the research findings to the World Virology Conference in Atlanta in 2015, and Antonio (Texas) in 2016.
Besides, he said that 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 said that he was 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”.
Ezeibe, who said that the medicine was patented in August 2014 in Nigeria, called on the Federal Government to help him to secure international patency for the drug.
He said: “If commercialised, the Medicinal Synthetic Aluminum-Magnesium Silicate would become an alternative for petroleum to the Nigerian economy.” (NAN)