Kenyan scientist Dr Peter Gichuhi Mwithera of the Institute of Primate Research, in Nairobi, Kenya has developed a substance that kills the virus that causes AIDS but he must first test his innovation on human beings before releasing the drug to the market.
In 2010, about 1.8 million people died of HIV-AIDS worldwide. In Kenya, 1.6 million people live with the condition which is no longer a death sentence because something is always being done to blunt the sting of the virus. And, you donâ€™t have to cross oceans to see this happening.
At the Karen outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya, an HIV-killing innovation by a Kenyan using ten baboons is in full flight. Better still, the public-funded effort is now set to go for human clinical trials in the country.
The government of Kenya has thrown in Sh50 million (US$ 595,000) to cover the first of three phases of the trials whose background work is already underway.
A moment though; arenâ€™t monkeys naturally immune to HIV? Yes, but non-human primates, such as baboons, are infected by the Simian Immunodeficiency Virus, the equivalent of HIV.
For purposes of research, Kenyan scientists have combined the two viruses to produce what is called SHIV (simian-human immunodeficiency virus) for use in such studies.
â€œWe are very excited about this development,â€ says Dr Jacob ole Miaron the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of State for National Heritage.
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