Professor of Veterinary Medicine and Clinical Virology at the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umuahia, Maduike Ezeibe claimed the vaccine was capable of eliminating the virus from some patients. claiming that the drug was successfully tested on 10 persons living with HIV.
The drug according Ezeibe was produced with “Aluminium Magnesium Silicate”, and had the clinical ability to “reach all cells” and make HIV “a conquered organism.”
However, the Centre for Disease Control on Tuesday, February 7,countering the claim noted that the claim was yet to pass through the required clinical trials and could therefore not be certified to be true.
According to the agency, the drug must pass through four stages of clinical trials before it can be certified as true.
The agency said: “It is not new to find a scientist using ambiguous scientific methods and practices to buttress this claim, and to find obscure journals increasingly prepared to publish these claims,” the agency said in a statement Tuesday.
“To examine the facts, this study was published in two little known journals and involved less than ten patients. In the “clinical trial” as reported, there was no evidence of the use of controls, which is the basis of all efficacy trials.
“There was no evidence of the use of controls, which is the basis of all efficacy trials. Without controls, you can neither have randomisation nor blinding, two other critical factors in studying the effects of new medicines.”
The agency noted that the primary outcome measured in the test study was based on plasma viral load levels. This, the agency said is known to fluctuate in patients.
“It is worth noting that virological suppression (viral load of less than 50 copies/ml) was not achieved in 6 of the patients.”
“One critical issue is that there was no evidence from the publication that the authors obtained ethical clearance from an appropriate body in Nigeria to conduct this study, and only ambiguous evidence that informed consent was sought from the evidently vulnerable patients.
“As a result of the above issues with this process, there is really no basis for a claim to cure of AIDS in this study.”
Going further, the agency says it was worried that the announcement may give false hope to patients of HIV who might want to discontinue their treatment.
“We are concerned that the publicity given to these claims will stop patients with HIV from taking life-saving antiretrovirals and give them false hope of a cure. It will be a great disservice to this vulnerable group of patients for the media to disseminate these claims in the absence of sound scientific evidence,” NCDC said.
The NCDC also faulted the process used by the professor for the trials because it did not conform with the standard ethics of drug testing.