Nairobi — The development of a herbal HIV and Aids management product (anti-retroviral) based on hard scientific data is important for Kenya in several ways.
First, it gives credence to long-held views that the marriage of indigenous knowledge with modern science could solve several problems. We are proud of the collaboration between local scientists, research institutions and business development experts.
That the Kenya Institute of Research Development is nurturing the concept with the aim of making it a commercial venture should encourage other local innovators to turn their ideas into marketable products.
This is how major medical brands started - from an idea to commercialisation.
However, because it is not in the interest of our competitors who supply the multi-billion-shilling HIV drug market in Kenya, those involved in the project must be vigilant.
They must, above all, stick to international ethical regulations and guidelines especially in terms of clinical trials.
If this concoction, dubbed Sunguprot, proves to be as important as scientific evidence indicates, it will be important for the innovator to be assisted in getting his work patented internationally.
The Government could easily underwrite the cost of patenting, and the other expensive tests that must be carried out, through an arrangement that will benefit both the public and the innovator.
The other concern is to have the plant, which grows wildly in western Kenya and is known as imbasa, put under stringent protection.