The Centre of Awareness has revealed that it has found a potential cure for HIV/AIDS following ten years of research into plant medicines in Ghana.
Dr Samuel Ato Duncan, the founder of the centre said the drug named COA has been scientifically tested and seen to be efficacious and safe for the treatment of HIV/AIDS.
He made this known at a presentation on the drug at the Physicians and Surgeons auditorium in Accra on Wednesday, 5 October 2016.
The announcement of a potential cure comes two days after a British man with HIV who is undergoing groundbreaking treatment to cure him has shown “remarkable” progress.
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The man, 44, who has remained anonymous has showed no signs of the disease following therapy, and clinicians are now hopeful of a breakthrough in one of the first serious attempts at a full cure for HIV, The Sunday Times reported.
He is the first of 50 people to complete a trial using the new treatment which involves combining standard antiretroviral drugs with a drug that reactivates dormant HIV and a vaccine that induces the immune system to destroy the infected cells.
The research is being carried out by scientists from five of Britain’s top universities, in conjunction with the National Health Service.
The Times quotes Mark Samuels, managing director of the National Institute for Health Research Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure, saying this was one of the first serious attempts at a full cure for HIV.
“We are exploring the real possibility of curing HIV.”
The new treatment aims to trick the virus into emerging from its hiding places and then trigger the body’s immune system to recognise it and attack it, an approach that has been labelled “kick and kill”, The Guardian reported.
HIV is so difficult to treat because it targets the immune system, splicing itself into the DNA of T-cells so that they not only ignore the disease, but turn into viral factories which reproduce the virus.
Current treatments, called anti-retroviral therapies (Art), target that process but they cannot spot dormant infected T-cells.
There are approximately 37 million people living with HIV worldwide and about 35 million people have died from the virus.
According to UN AIDSs, in 2015 there were around 270 000 people living with HIV in Ghana, In 2015 13 000 people died from AIDS.
This year, Ghana holds the Vice-Chair position on the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board (PCB) for 2016. In February President John Dramani Mahama, underlined how increased advocacy, partnership and investment in the AIDS response willbring results that go beyond health.
He has said that complacency needs to be addressed by expanding evidence-informed and rights-based initiatives, programmes and services. Scaling up capacity for local production of antiretroviral therapy is one way.
Ghana has made significant strides in its AIDS response through integrated multisectoral HIV responses that provide lessons learned for western Africa.
Ghana reduced new HIV infections by 53% between 2001 and 2014 and AIDS-related deaths by 45% in the same period. According to 2008 and 2014 demographic and health surveys, HIV testing among women almost doubled between 2008 and 2014.