Kenyan Ethics Board Approves Country’s First Clinical Trial of Herbal Product Used To Treat HIV/AIDS
The Kenyatta National Hospital Ethics and Research Board recently approved the first human clinical trial in Kenya of an herbal product to treat HIV/AIDS, Kenya's Nation reports. The board approved a proposal by researchers from Kenya Medical Research Institute, the University of Nairobi and Kenyatta University to conduct a clinical trial to determine the safety of the Brazil-based herbal product Canova Immunomodulator, which contains three herbs -- Aconitum napellus, Bryonia alba and Thuya alba occentalis -- the metal Asenicum album and the venom of the poisonous snake Lachesis muta. Gabriel Mbugua of KEMRI said researchers plan to enroll 60 people in the trial, during which they will administer the drug for six months at KEMRI facilities and follow up with participants for one year. According to the Nation, some researchers say that the product -- which is registered in Kenya as an herbal medicine -- has not shown side effects among more than 10,000 people who have taken it in Botswana and Brazil and that patients have not developed resistance to it. Mbugua said that the product has been shown to reduce HIV viral loads and that Brazilian researchers "have done a lot of research on the product and are in agreement that it is useful in the management of HIV/AIDS and cancer." He added, "But we feel the need to subject the product to local independent trials before we can freely use it on Kenyans." The product was developed by Francisco Canova 50 years ago, and Brazilian researchers nine years ago found it had immune-boosting capabilities, the Nation reports (Gathura, Nation, 9/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.