HIV/AIDS researchers in East Africa indict European firms

Dar es Salaam- Tanzania (PANA) -- Tanzanian and Kenyan researchers have expressed optimism about finding a cure for the HIV/AIDS disease within seven to 15 years, but intimated that a vaccine for its prevention may never be discovered.
At a round table discussion broadcast on Radio Deutsche Welle at the weekend, Kenyan Prof.
Arthur Obel, Dr E.
Lyamuya and Dr Amour Amour of the Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam said there were promising signs that a cure was in sight.
Professor Obel who is conducting research on various herbs said he and other Kenyan researchers have made good progress and could have yielded positive results, but for lack of cooperation from European AIDS drug research firms.
"The stage we have reached now shows that if we intensify our efforts we may be able to get a cure in seven to 15 years.
But our efforts are undermined by European AIDS drugs research firms who deny our products international accreditation," he remarked.
He said he had contacted AIDS drugs research firms in Europe several times but they either kept mum and even when they responded, they wanted to send their own people to carry out the research.
Professor Obel pointed out that the danger with accepting European partner researchers had been the tendency by such firms claiming rights to new discoveries, and branding African researchers as mere assistants in the process.
"As I speak now, we have herbs which can prolong HIV/AIDS patients life, in the same way as those accredited by European firms and used in the world, but are simply not in use because they are not accepted by Europe," he noted.
Talking about hopes to strike a preventive drug for HIV, Dr Lyamuya said there was no hope yet, citing both the complicated nature of HIV virus and lack of interest by European HIV/AIDS drugs research firms to invest in preventive drugs.
"The fact that the viruses are of several types and two viruses of different nature may merge to produce another complicated virus, leads to high costs in research for a preventive drug, something which has led research firms abandon or lose interest in the matter," he noted.

30 april 2001 19:35:00

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