Reported AIDS Cure ‘Useless,’ Thai Health Ministry Says
The V-1 Immunitor pill, promoted by the Salang Bunnag Foundation as a cure for AIDS, "appears to be useless," the Thai Public Health Ministry said Tuesday in a statement, the Associated Press reports. The ministry studied the effects of the pill in 50 HIV/AIDS patients for two months before making its proclamation that the pill "didn't show significant changes that could prove conclusively that the V-1 Immunitor has an impact on white blood cells or viral load." The ministry will conduct a two- to four-month follow-up study of 50 patients to support its initial findings. The government will allow the foundation to continue marketing the pill, but only as a food supplement and not as a cure for AIDS (Noikorn, Associated Press, 8/15). Sonsong Rakphao, head of the Communicable Diseases Control Department, said he is "willing" to undertake further study of the substance within his organization or with the U.S. Armed Forces Institute for Medical Science if the manufacturer would pay for the study. "We want to know what the substance is. Its manufacturers say it is made of the outer cover of the AIDS virus, but according to the [Thai] Food and Drug Administration, it contains magnesium," he said (Bhatiasevi, Bangkok Post, 8/15). Deputy Public Health Minister Surapong Suebwonglee "warned" the foundation to "stop discouraging patients from taking other anti-AIDS treatments." Dr. Montri Sethabutr, head of the foundation's research team, said that the government report was "incomplete" and that it was "too soon to make such a conclusion in one study with only 50 subjects." He added that his organization has done "many sound studies and trials and will continue" testing the substance. In June, the pill received "widespread publicity" when the foundation publicly gave away 10,000 packets of the substance (Associated Press, 8/15).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.