Nigeria agency faults professor’s HIV cure claim

Isaac Adewole, Minister of Health
Isaac Adewole, Minister of Health

The National Centre for Disease Control has faulted the claim by a Nigerian professor of discovering the cure for HIV.

Maduike Ezeibe, a Professor of Veterinary Medicine and Clinical Virology at the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umuahia was widely reported of developing a drug that eliminated the deadly virus in some patients.

Mr. Ezeibe reportedly said the drug, which was produced with “Aluminium Magnesium Silicate”, had the clinical ability to “reach all cells” and make HIV “a conquered organism”. He said the drug was successfully tested on 10 persons living with HIV.

Reacting to the reports, federal health authorities, including the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, and the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, called for caution over the claim.

The minister said the Federal Government had directed relevant agencies to scrutinise the claim.

But speaking on the development on Tuesday, the centre for disease control said the claim was yet to pass through the necessary clinical trials and therefore could not be certified to be true.

The agency said for the drug to be certified, it has to pass four stages of clinical trials.

According to the NCDC, the method used for the trials of Mr. Ezeibe’s drug was questionable and did not conform with the ethics of drug testing.

“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 said the primary outcome measured in the test study was based on plasma viral load levels that are known to fluctuate in patients, even in the absence of any intervention, adding, “it is worth noting that virological suppression (viral load of less than 50 copies/ml) was not achieved in 6 of the patients.”

It said there was no evidence of the clinical and treatment status of the patients at the beginning, or at the end of the trials.

“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.”

The agency expressed worry about the implication of the announcement on HIV patients, who may discontinue their current antiretorivral treatments.

“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 claim for a cure for HIV/AIDS in Nigeria is not new. In the late 1990s, another Nigerian scientist, Jeremiah Abalaka, had claimed to have developed a vaccine for the disease but the claim was discredited.


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  • tsunami1earthquake

    While this agency is calling for caution, the agency should also be advised to be cautious in disparaging and dismissing this claim. What the agency should do is to team up with the researcher to do all these tests with a view to getting to the necessary scientific outcomes.

    AIDS has not got any cure yet, admittedly, but Nigerians must never be at each other’s neck in this particular exercise lest the nation loses an opportunity. Let Nigerians not establish a forum where dogs will eat dogs.

  • Madukanaya

    What the DG should do is to invite the professor to substantiate his claim. Africans continue to blame the west for their woes when they are bedeviled by ethnic and religious bigotry. The so called DG might not know any thing only only that mediocrity has become the order of the day in Nigeria.

  • amazing2012

    “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.”
    Ethical clearance my foot ! Idiots if he is white man all of you will be jumping like rabbits celebrating the drugs even before you tested it.
    Shameless institution and western agents, where were you when Pzer tested drugs on innocent children and killed thousands and deformed millions in Kano ?

    • taiwo

      Apart from ethical clearance, the agency raised an important point. The agency said the primary outcome measured in the test study was based on plasma viral load levels that are known to fluctuate in patients, even in the absence of any intervention, adding, “it is worth noting that virological suppression (viral load of less than 50 copies/ml) was not achieved in 6 of the patients.” Scientist must prove their findings and not expect an agency to verify for themselves. We should not defend a research that doesn’t meet international standard. We shouldn’t be crying foul when we didn’t do our job well. It is now left for the man to look into the identified lapses and prove his research findings beyond reasonable doubt. Pfizer was guilty of the trial it conducted.

      • amazing2012

        My brother there is a difference between science and politics of domination, superimacy and dependency.
        “We should not defend a research that doesn’t meet international standard’. This is not science but politics, international standard organized by who ? The rule of the game should not temper with the main concept and purpose of the game. Even if the international standard is breached provided the drugs cures, lets give him OUR total support.
        China with the highest population do not needs international stadard to pursue most of its research, It is two way, the africans either stop following international standard” to develop themsleves or the continent will remain as its called “dark continent’ by the same people we are following.
        No doubt, the western will never want us to be successfull in anything.

        • taiwo

          I agree with you that there is usually a silent battle for supremacy and international politic can come into play but if we analyse the argument of the agency, you will be careful not to conclude that its all politics in this situation. The fact that one has numerous publications to ones credit does not really mean that the publications are truly credible. Scientists who have reviewed many publications know this. Human medicine can not be politicized because there would be consequences.

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  • Kennedy

    From the statements made by this DG, the drug have already failed the test even without investigation. There is no need for further validation. One can easily perceive elements of envy and arrogance.The all knowing DG have passed the verdict and what could the hapless Minister of Health do and it will be preposterous for the professor to surrender his golden efforts to the bigoted DG. Many other indigenous scientists have been trodden down this way. Let the professor liaise with World Health organisations for a validation. Who knows he could be lucky.

    • persona

      The protocols were not followed. If you want to help the man, volunteer to be his control and go through the 4 stages all other claims go through. Its human lives that is at stake, remove your bias and let the man be proud of his “cure” when he scales through all the stages. The agency is doing their job, will you take a drug not certified by NAFDAC?

  • Kevin Peter

    The same mentality of”Pull Him Down” syndrome. Very unfortunate that the relevant bodies cannot rally round this gentleman to assist in bringing about a successful result. This’s one reason why the traditional medicine healers who have saved thousands of lives are seen as “enemies” by these so-called professionals

    • persona

      There is no pull him down anywhere. The prof is learned, if you want to lay claims and be respected, then be certified. Its a different thing if he had said, his medication has helped 10 people and we may be on to something and definitely not a cure as he claimed. $ stages, he followed none, if you desire to help the man, be his control subject and if he finds a cure, please try share part of the glory.

      • Kevin Peter

        We’re still on the same page of helping the prof to publicize his discovery. Since you know more about the processes of getting his drug certified, you may as well advise. But the truth is that the prof has found the cure which many are not willing to give him the glory. The university VC would never have gone that far in attesting to the discovery. Left to me, the prof can go solo and practice as a traditionalist towards helping humanity where so-called government sponsored agents cannot interfere.

        • persona

          He should open a healing shop and that is his own trajectory. As a learned person, you don’t disdain procedure and claim you have a “CURE”. He is like a lawyer telling you that you are under arrest. The path is clear, he should say that people have been “healed” BUT cure is a wrong word. The mere fact that the VC came out to make such a position, we should check his veracity as a prof also. It is never done anywhere. Are you aware that Jimmy Carter was treated with an experimental cancer drug? The man has recovered greatly and yet its not called a cure. Experimental drugs with FDA approval are given to people and then monitored to ensure that all side effects are treated. Let me make this simple, all drugs have side effects, which side effect does his “CURE” have? These are issues beyond him as a doctor, pharmacology is involved and he cant say that a sample of 10 is the basis for a cure.

  • Intrepid

    Black African prejudice on display. A cursed people.

    • Julius

      So, they should’t follow the well known and proven procedures … the acceptable procedure all over the world ? I guess its okay to do what our fathers used to do in the village and call it standards . C’on sir !

    • Höly Wähala

      Abeg, shut up dia jare… They should not allow, Aba-Made HIV-medicine into the mainstream of Nigeria’s healthcare, that is their duty and the so-called drug did not pass through the basic methods acceptable to any scientific community. That’s all this article is telling you… there is no room for, Ogun Lakaye Urine in modern medicine, every drop of that nama urine used in making ogogoro must pass clinical tests before we can label it a cure for HIV/AIDS… ist das klar? When your dan daudu ass was bending over for Bobrisky you didn’t worry about HIV-AIDS ba? Oloshi!

  • Rumournaire

    A university professor certainly knows the procedure for testing and certifying new drugs. Why do our intellectuals who lay claims to inventions not follow the procedure so they can avoid controversy over their claims? This professor is not the first Nigerian intellectual to lay claims to inventing an HIV cure. There was one Jeremiah in University of Abuja some years back. Just like in this case, that one also did not follow known procedure for clinical testing and certification? Why?

    • thusspokez

      These procedures are not cheap and often out of one’s controls — which can all contribute to the delay and often lead to frustration. Unless you have the resources, qualified assistants, institutional backers, there is always the temptation to cut corners.

      • Rumournaire

        True, but if you want to make big claims such as discovering a cure for HIV, you must be prepared to defend such claims before your professional colleagues whose focus would be on your compliance with industry procedures. It could mean partnering with companies and organisations who can support you in the clinical trials, and perhaps who would eventually help commercialise your discovery. But you expose yourself to ridicule if you do not want to follow established procedures and just want people to believe you. That is what we are seeing now.

        • thusspokez

          Many decades ago, I decided to start my own business because I felt that my employers where financially benefiting greatly from my ideas and even giving the credit to my immediate boss. This is always what happens because your employment contract says that you cannot claim right to anything in organisation — not even your private emails on the company computer. They have their corporate lawyers versus you the small man.

          The issue here is the conduct of the public-funded NCDC. The NCDC has the money and resources and should have worked with the professors to see if there is zero, some or real truth in the professor’s claim — it didn’t!

          These things are like Master or PhD thesis, the NCDC should have acted like a ‘supervisor’ and privately given him directions — assuming he has something — or tell him to stop mucking about and quit. Surely, this is a better way than issuing such hateful criticism of the professor before looking into the claim properly.

          The NCDC criticised the professor for not following procedure, and yet it too failed to follow procedure for testing and evaluating the professors claim, but choosing instead to issue very harsh and hateful criticism of the professor — so harsh, one might think that the professor had ran away with the wife of the NCDC boss.

          • Rumournaire

            “The issue here is the conduct of the public-funded NCDC. The NCDC has
            the money and resources and should have worked with the professors to
            see if there is zero, some or real truth in the professor’s claim — it
            didn’t!

            I believe the mistake this Prof made is to have gone public before working with NCDC and others to establish some credibility. If you believe you have a breakthrough discovery, in every profession, you need a peer review and in this case, clinical tests, before announcing your discovery to the world. I think he rushed to the press and thereby exposed himself to ridicule.

          • thusspokez

            If you believe you have a breakthrough discovery, in every profession, you need a peer review and in this case, clinical tests, before announcing your discovery to the world.

            This is a myth and definitely not true and only applicable in a minority of cases. Governments, companies and individuals invest in research and development (RD) but very few of their discoveries and inventions are known by the public for fear of someone copying them.

            The professor is naive to publicize his so-called cure. If it is true, he risks being targeted by all sorts of people and corporations — some good and other, bad.

          • Rumournaire

            No sweat. Now that the Prof has announced his discovery to the world and he is being challenged, he should should commence the professionally-endorsed procedure for winning credibility for his product. He cannot expect other people or organisations to do that for him. It is like defending your PhD desertation – only you can do it. And, it is in his interest to do it.

            We should not always dismiss criticisms like this as a case of sour grapes. The Abuja doctor I referred to earlier who years ago claimed an HIV cure turned out to be a fluke – have you heard anything of his product since then? When you are dealing with medication that would be injected into human beings, the onus is on you, the developer, to demonstrate its efficacy and safety.

  • thusspokez

    The National Centre for Disease Control [NCDC] has faulted the claim by a Nigerian professor of discovering the cure for HIV.

    My issue with the NCDC is that it criticizes the professor for not following procedures and standards and yet it doesn’t seem to have followed the right procedure for reviewing the claim before issuing it criticism — which is more like a tirade. It would usually take months to evaluate any claim of a medical breakthrough.

    Readers would recollect that it was only yesterday we read in the news about the Minister of Health request to the NCDC to see to the claim. But 24 hours later, the NCDC goes to the press with its tirade. What procedure did the NCDC follow to evaluate the claim before issuing its tirade?

    I know that some lazy and stúpid readers would interpret my comment here as support for the professor,in which case, I would suggest that they read the comment again. Yes, there are procedures to follow in other to validate one’s invention or discovery, but most inventors are lazy and can’t always be bothered with the niceties of procedures and processes. What is unforgivable is the gross lack of professionalism of the NCDC, i.e., its failure to conduct proper review of the professor’s claims before issuing its vitriol in 24 hours.

  • SAM .A

    Prof Maduike Ezeibe antiviral medication never passed the world standard of going through Phase1,2,3 and 4 , no animal model , no observable side effects & most important it did not bring the viral load down to less than 50/ml . He must realize that he is producing the New Drug (ND) for the world , therefore he should follow the world standard . At this stage, he should be encouraged with grants from FG , ,NGO and Philantropists . He should go back to drawing board and follow the well known and acceptable process. Who ever discover the real cure for AIDs will become a trillionaire .

    • Julius

      I agree but, note that he is not the only one that had made the same claim in the country.

      • Höly Wähala

        Even Prof. Maurice Iwuru-wuru also claimed his group had found cola nuts to cure AIDS and he’s currently trying to patent the method in the USA, claims abound my broda… no mind dem jare. Mesef, I get my own idea of Ogun Lakaye, it’s called… Monkey Blood. Don’t ask me for the menu of herbs I used because mesef wann patent am for Brussels after smuggling it into the EU in a tall bottle of odeku. Hahaha chai… LOL!

        • Julius

          lolz, mi sef discovered the cure, 2 of them..1: don’t be promiscuous 2, some good old cold bottle of Odeku on weekends. I dey try to patient them too. Wish me luck bro !

          • Höly Wähala

            Hahahahaa… na patent, nor be “patient” them, @Juliusi. Just don’t gulp all your weekend odeku before the inspectors show up at your lab, your spelling tells me that you are a bit, “tipsy” with excitement over your invention. Don’t worry, me-ma, I dey inside my Sango temple right now dey chant incantations for your successful patenting of your Nobel idea. Indeed, LoL!

          • Julius

            Lmaooooo, how u come dey use my weakness against me ? I object to such cruelty..lol, thanks for your chants, I fit share the profit small wit u. lol, Oloshi.

        • persona

          Yeye man, na mixture of orijin and odeku be you cure all abi?
          The protocols were not followed, for a learned man, that is quackery. for all those claiming he should be celebrated, make dem volunteer to be the control patient.

          • Julius

            hahahahahaha, abi oo.

          • persona

            My brother na clown. He don go remix him favorite blood tonic with another product from the same company, Orijin.
            To serious matter, I am appalled that a prof is even staking such a claim. Every drug has side effects, which side effect does our dear prof’s drug have o?
            Even as Jimmy Carter has been treated with an experimental drug for his cancer, FDA is yet to label it as a cure. Those that are supporting this man including his VC are suspects. No procedure followed, no control specimen, no history and more importantly, a drug is something directly under pharmacology, so which is our able prof, a doctor or pharmacist abi na both even as he is a vet doctor.

          • Julius

            No mind them. You know some people had already turned this tribal . Na because the Prof be an Ibo man. Nonsense. There are procedure for stuff like this all over the world and as you’ve rightly stated, it hasn’t been followed. Anyway sha, he wont be the 1st and I can assure you he wont be the last either. Quacks comes out for attentions and to make money fraudulently. If he is actually telling the truth, I’ll congratulate him and wish him the best !

    • Mazi Efuna

      This is the exact reason Nigeria will never see the light of the day. A nation filled with men with monkey brains must reason like monkeys and zoo animals. In the early 1980s, China pulled their diaspora brains and gave them all government support and basically developed them, and today one can make the clear comparison between the 20th and 21st century China. Today, a professor at a university in the country has taken a first step and rather than absorbing him, the system is fighting him and HIV AIDS remains a disease for men who died and those who are dying. Yes, the United States FDA has new drug application process and Nigeria which has not originally produced a chalk in the name of a drug is found copying the well established FDA. Early in the 1970s, Aba made cloths and shoes were treated as contraband on their way from Aba to Lagos. Now, tell me where Nigeria is today with such zoo monkey mentality. The problem is not the federal government but the mindset that make up the government. Nigeria cannot survive as a nation.

      • Oladele

        Are you sure you read anything at all? They only called for caution or do we have to be a laughing stock? Even Jameh claimed to be able to cure AIDS. If the Prof works with relevant agencies he could help us, so let’s not go to victim mentality and divide the country syndrome. He wasn’t the first to claim cure world over and any sane government will do exactly what has just been done.

        • Mazi Efuna

          Read me closely, the point is between encouragement and discouragement. The true difference is obtained between developed world and undeveloped world. No one develops by suppressing idea in the name of protocol. Protocol is great but people in developed world know very well the damaging effect of protocols and government. This is why protocol line is threaded carefully in developed world so to avoid the suppression of the citizens. Today, among the programs introduced by Donald Trump to revive America is his 2 in 1 program to curb government regulations. This means that, for every new regulation introduced, two old regulations must be dissolved. He plans to do away with 70% of government regulatory bodies. This he believe would open up some strangle hold on the American people and businesses by the government regulations. Too much government as obtained in poor rudderless Nigeria is seriously dangerous and when such problem is combined with copying other well established programs in established countries, growth is almost at a full stop as it is in Nigeria today. I am greatly baffled to see a single smile in the face of today Nigerians. Nigerians are truly the happiest people on God’s planet earth. Otherwise, how can one explain the entire phenomenon called Nigeria. You remember made in Taiwan and do you remember made in China of the days of yore? Today, made in Taiwan and China carry different labels and perceptions all over the world. Everyone in Nigeria both the government wants to be Americans and speak or mimic British accent. You turn around, every news agent in Nigeria both men and women speak, copying British accent. How do we plan to move from oil dependent economy to other potential economies, remain status quo or by trying to be America or Britain yet an average Nigerian in the street cannot afford two meals a day.

          Remember, more than 30% of Nigeria’s pharmaceutical is of non-traditional origin. And remember, 100% of the world pharmaceuticals are of native origins. The Darwinian natural selection theory holds sway then and today. The cure for diseases we have are all around us, we just have to find them and we must not discourage those who try to find them. Physostimine also known as Calabar bean, a well known drug for the treatment of eye condition is from Calabar Nigeria. If this drug is to be proposed to the Nigeria public today, I bet you folks a million reasons why the idea would die in a bundle of protocol files which would leave you and eye debating on the internet the danger of Nigeria made drugs. And if placed on a different mirror and Oyibo comes out with the same idea, guess what? This is why folks like myself are suggesting dissolution of Nigeria. The country is too big for the level of brains in it. Some believe in violence, some in mediocracy and some truly believe in hard work, believing that without trying, nothing comes. And with all these believes, non believes in the Nigeria nation building. It is all good, but I sincerely believe that we can all work together but we all must first identify our individual nation selves, then may come back together. This time, nations who believe they have common interest may merge as one united country. Anything less, we are ready to waste another 50 years. But this time, nature and God may not be on our side.

          • Alex

            If you know a thing about medical research & ethics of medical research, especially its history, you would know that in a sane world where humans exist, this Prof would now be having a chat with security operatives.
            Some of you people sit in front of your PCs & type nonsense because data is cheap, exposing your crass ignorance of the subject matter.
            The most annoying part is when people bring in ethnic/tribal sentiments into a matter of this importance.
            I’m an Abian & a physician. On the day of that announcement, a colleague of mine informed me of some of his HIV patients who were noticed recently to have deteriorated following a sustained good clinical response. When they probed, they found out that they had stopped taking their drugs & switched over to Prof. Ezeibe’s drug, for promise of cure.
            Last night I took a “corpse”

          • Alex

            If you know a thing about medical research & ethics of medical research, especially its history, you would know that in a sane world where humans exist, this Prof would now be having a chat with security operatives.
            Some of you people sit in front of your PCs & type nonsense because data is cheap, exposing your crass ignorance of the subject matter.
            The most annoying part is when people bring in ethnic/tribal sentiments into a matter of this importance.
            I’m an Abian & a physician. On the day of that announcement, a colleague of mine informed me of some of his HIV patients who were noticed recently to have deteriorated following a sustained good clinical response. When they probed, they found out that they had stopped taking their drugs & switched over to Prof. Ezeibe’s drug, for promise of cure.
            Last night I drove a “walking corpse” to hospital because he has not been taking the standard drugs but expected cure from Ezeibe’s drug. Do you know how many lives he has destroyed in Abia state alone, not to talk about other neighboring states.
            Why did he report only 10 cases despite how secretly popular he is with the vulnerable PLWHIV?
            Google the history of medical research ethics & come back to this forum a better person & stop this your encouragement thing.

      • persona

        Sir, there is no doubt he is learned but I will ask, would you like to be his control patient?
        If no, please stop the tirade against established protocols. The essence is not to denigrate the prof, he is learned and he just acted as though his patients are animals not humans with his own set of protocols.
        There is nothing saying his claims will not be celebrated, it is the quackery that the federal agency is against. When he does prove it, the world will stand up for him. former INEC head too claimed he had cure for Ebola, did it stand? Abalaka said same did it stand?

  • Riot5000

    “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.

    WHY NOT FOCUS ON THE INGREDIENTS THE MAN INDICATED, HELP RUN A THOROUGH CLINICAL TEST AND SEE IF THE STUFF IS AT LEAST EFFECTIVE AND THEN WORRY ABOUT THE TOXICITY IN HUMANS?
    Made in Nigeria is not popular.