Ghana Finds AIDS Drug?

Ghana is on the verge of manufacturing anti-retroviral drugs for the treatment of HIV/AIDS locally. This is because three traditional herbal medicines submitted to Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, are beginning to show results of efficacy for the treatment of HIV/AIDS, a source close to the health sector has told the Times.

The three drugs were among 20 others submitted to the Institute by local plant medicine producers, to determine their efficacy against the AIDS virus.
A clinical test of the products is currently test of the products is currently ongoing to determine their antioxidant and other toxicological properties.

“When successful, it will be Ghana’s response to managing the HIV/AIDS pandemic,” the source said.

The drugs, according to the source, had the potential of reducing the viral loads in HIV-positive patients and could be best used as anti-retroviral therapy (ART).

The National AIDS and STI Prevention and Control Programme (NACP) bulletin of 2011, indicated that an estimated 267,069 people were living with HIV and AIDS in the country, but only about 40,575 people were receiving anti-retroviral therapy.

The source was confident that with the new development, the country stood the chance to make up for the shortfall of anti-retroviral drugs needed to treat HIV/AIDS and better the physical well-being of people living with AIDS.

Explaining issues further, the source said the positive results being shown by the herbal medicines were the results of attention being given to traditional herbal medicine practice by successive government since 1991.

It said presently, the Mampong Centre for Scientific Research into Herbal Medicines had approved 34 of scientifically evaluated herbal medicines, while the Food and Drugs Board (FDB), had also approved about 300 of similar products.

“Though some of the medicines have been approved by the various regulatory bodies, they are still under continuous evaluation to forestall any sub-standard and fake products on the market.”

The source said the Ministry of Health, through the Ghana Health Services had selected 86 of such products to be dispensed in 17 hospitals across the country.

“The measure is aimed at integrating traditional herbal medicine as part of the health service delivery system in the country.”

It said well-performing products, would be patented as a means of safeguarding the intellectual property of the sector.

Meanwhile, the Noguchi memorial Institute for Medical Research, has confirmed in its 30th Anniversary Journal that systematic research on Ghanaian medical plants has indentified six anti-HIV plants’.

Scientist at the Institute have been researching into Ghanaian traditional medicine comprising largely plant medicines.

The Institute which works closely with the Traditional and Alternative Medicine Directorate at the Ministry of Health has also been working constantly with a number of local plant medicine producers to train them on quality measures to improve their products.

Source: Ghanaian Times

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