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.
The drug was developed by Dr. Maduike Ezeibe, a professor of Veterinary Medicine, at the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike, Nigeria. He developed the drug after years of dogged scientific research. Professor Ezeibe told a press conference at the university’s campus that the drug was produced using the minerals aluminium silicate and magnesium silicate (synthetic aluminium-magnesium silicate). He said that the two minerals “are already in use as medicines for the treatment of various animal and human diseases” and that 10 volunteers were treated daily with the medicinal synthetic aluminum-magnesium silicate (50mg/kg),” adding that the volunteers undergo periodic testing to ascertain their 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,” Dr. Ezeibe said. In the report he has presented his research findings to the World Virology Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2015 and Antonio, Texas, in 2016, and his research work has been published in several international scientific journals, including the British Journal of Medicine and Medical Research.
Ultimately, he asked Nigerian authorities to help him secure international patent rights for the drug, saying, “If commercialized, the medicinal synthetic aluminium-magnesium silicate would become an alternative for petroleum to the Nigerian economy.”
Professor Francis Otunta, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture vice chancellor, told the press that Dr. Ezeibe had presented his research findings to the university management, Senate, and Council, where he explained the processes he went through to arrive at his findings. The vice chancellor also added that Ezeibe had received praise, when he presented his findings to a cross section of his colleagues in the medical field.
For its part, the Nigerian government has mandated the National Institute of Medical Research and the College of Medicine, Ibadan to conduct a proper study of Professor Ezeibe’s research. Nigerian Health Minister Professor Isaac Adewole told a town hall gathering that the government was interested in Dr. Ezeibe’s research.
Nigeria currently has about 3 million people infected with the virus, making it the country with the highest number of infected persons in the world after South Africa.
The minister, however, called for cautious optimism since specific established procedures must be followed and further tests carried out before Dr. Ezeibe’s claims can be announced as a cure.
“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 humans.
“At the appointed time, when we have the results, we shall come public,” Dr. Adewole said.