Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria's Maurice Iwu, Others Record Breakthrough in HIV/Aids Treatment

As the world continued to battle with efforts aimed at finding cure to HIV/AIDS, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced another breakthrough in the treatment of the disease with the discovery of an oral botanical drug, Crofelemer.

The new drug is the second botanical, and an orally administered drug to be approved by FDA since 2006.

The latest breakthrough owes its success to a pioneering research carried out in the United States by a team of scientists including Nigeria's Professor Maurice Iwu, an acclaimed pharmacologist and tropical medicine expert.

The first botanical drug to be approved in the United States was a topical green tea extract, Veregen, in 2006. Both botanical drugs meet all US pharmaceutical requirements and can be dispensed only by prescription.

However, "Crofelemer is the first drug to be approved in the United States to treat HIV -associated diarrhea. It is derived from the latex of the South American sangre de drago tree (dragon's blood, Croton lechleri). A red, blood-resembling latex leaks from the tree when its bark is cut, and it is this substance that contains the novel polymolecular structure crofelemer, originally developed and standardized by Shaman Pharmaceuticals. Fulyzag is the second botanical drug approved by the agency. The drug's approval marks an important event in the decades-long history of crofelemer."

The latest "Healthnews," in a report entitled, "Nigeria's Maurice Iwu, others record breakthrough in HIV/AIDS treatment: Amazon tree-derived medicine cleared for usage in HIV patients with diarrhea," stated, "On New Year's Eve of 2012, the US Food and Drug Administration announced its approval of crofelemer, marking the second time a botanical, and the first time an orally administered botanical, has received drug approval from the Administration. The first botanical drug to be approved in the United States was a topical green tea extract, Veregen in 2006. Both botanical drugs meet all US pharmaceutical requirements and can be dispensed only by prescription.

"The latest breakthrough owes its success to a pioneering research carried out in the United States by a team of scientists which included Nigeria's Professor Maurice Iwu, an acclaimed pharmacologist and tropical medicine expert.

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