Nigeria's drug regulators have refuted a new cure claim for HIV made by a university professor.
National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control said the drugs drug Deconcotion X (DX)-Liquid or Bioclean 11, said to wipe out HIV virus in 30 days, were "never presented [to the agency] for evaluation of efficacy and safety.
"This bogus claim of efficacy without following the appropriate procedure for drug evaluation is capable of misleading the public, especially those that have HIV/AIDS infections, as there is no known official or scientifically proven cure for HIV/AIDS infection to date," said NAFDAC director general Dr Paul Orhii.
While NAFDAC tests for safety, its sister agency Nigeria Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Developments tests for efficacy.
More than 1.5 million people with HIV are in need of treatment in Nigeria, but therapy is only available for one-third of them.
Orhii said unsubstantiated cure claims are "usually at the expense of innocent citizens who have risked their lives, wasted their time and money in search of the elusive cure for their ailments."
"Nigerians deserve better than to be used as Guinea pigs no matter how noble the intention of the researcher," he said.
"We will be the first and happiest to disclose to the world that we have a cure for this serious condition in Nigeria, but we have to protect Nigerians. People should take advantage of them or deceive them."
Regulations by NAFDAC forbid distribution and sale of medicinal and food products without registration from the agency.
NAFDAC has not ruled out sanctions, but it also says it wants any cure to claim to go through the right channels for any merit.
"We will decide on the appropriate sanction," said Orhii. "
We have required him [Ibeh] to come forward with what he has so we can follow the appropriate channels. But we are warning Nigerians that they should not rush there for cure."
"There is a laid-down protocol for determining efficacy and safety of new medicines and this must be strictly adhered to by all," insisted Orhii.
Ibeh's claim on discovering a herb-based drug that can wipe out HIV in a month made headlines this week.
He said the drugs--the result of a project he started in 2010--have undergone safety and bacteriological analysis, as well as series of tests both in Nigeria and the US.
But UNIBEN, where Ibeh works, has disowned his breakthrough claim.
Provost of the school's college of medicine, Vincent Iyawe, said the school could not "align with the breakthrough" because it was not consulted.
Nation of claims
Nigerians are regularly confronted with cure claims for diseases ranging from HIV/AIDS to hepatitis and diabetes.
The agency has described them as "spurious claims...which later turned out to be false after thorough investigations."
It arrested the head of Winners Medical Diagnostics and Research Institute, Jacob Abdullahi, in september 2011 "for dealing on expired medicines claimed to be cure for HIV."
Two months later, Bondima Young, who ran a Hepatoviral Centre in Jos, was arrested "for administering unregistered drugs on patients for the treatment of hepatitis," the agency said.