THERE is new hope for people living with HIV/AIDS. A new drug called canova, is set to enter the Ugandan market. Application of Canova is even simpler â€“â€“ just 10 drops under the tongue three times a day.
THERE is new hope for people living with HIV/AIDS. A new drug called canova, is set to enter the Ugandan market. Application of Canova is even simpler â€“â€“ just 10 drops under the tongue three times a day. For those critically ill, the frequency may be increased to six times a day. For those with respiratory infections like TB or pneumonia, there is canova inhaler.
According to Dr Curthbert Agolor, who is in the process of getting it approved by the National Drug Authority (NDA), Canova is a non-toxic immune system enhancer. It requires no dose monitoring and reduces the viral burden to almost non-detectable levels in some cases. It is approved by FDA (US Food and Drug Administration).
â€œIt prolongs the life of HIV patients, improves their quality of life and is easy to administer,â€ said Ogolor, a doctor at Uganda Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS. No side effects have been reported in the countries where it is in use; Brazil, India, Botswana, Lesotho, Tanzania, Zambia and Kenya.
Samuel Kali, NDAâ€™s legal officer, said Alternative Medicine Centre Limited applied to register Canova as a herbal medicine which may be considered this week. Once it is registered, it can be imported and distributed in Uganda.
Dr Agolor, who has had numerous presentations to TASO, doctors, members of Parliament, NDA and the army, says canova acts on the main cells of the immune system called macrophages, enhancing their functions.
Agolor says the treatment is conducted under homeopathy â€“â€“ a German science that has been in practice for 200 years. Unlike conventional medicine, homeopathy stimulates the body to heal itself.
According to Dr Nilesh Naik, the in-charge of canova distribution in Asia and Africa, canova was discovered by Dr Francisco Canova over 50 years ago while researching for a painkiller for his mother who had cancer. As a cancer remedy, Canova was hailed by researchers: â€œIt stimulates the immune system by activating macrophages (special cells that destroy disease-causing organisms in the body) which stimulate lymphocytes (White blood cells) to increase their cytotoxic action (cell killing power) in response to tumour growth or infection,â€ said an article published last year in the Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research.
Canova was introduced in the Brazilian market in 1998, and has since been licensed to be manufactured in Botswana. It is being distributed to several African countries.
The Tanzania experience
Dr. Sigsbert Rwegasira of Dar es Salaam was quoted by the East African Business Week as saying Canova has improved quality of patientsâ€™ life in just three months since the Tanzania government gave it a special permit. â€œThe quality of life for about 70 patients affected by HIV/AIDS went up from 45% to 196% in a three-month period since February this year.â€ The percentage was calculated from CD4 count that climbed from the lowest average of 14 to 889. A normal CD4 count for a healthy person is 500 and above.
Plans in Uganda
Once registered, Alternative Medicines Centre Limited plans to import large stocks. â€œI have enough stock for the Uganda market,â€ Dr Naik said from Botswana. The centre intends to distribute it at $25 - $30 (sh43,750 - sh52,500) per bottle. A bottle lasts about a month, says Dr Agolor.
â€œFor people already on ARVs, Canova can be taken concurrently for much better results,â€ Dr agolor said. â€œIt brings back like for people whose health is already deteriorating while on ARVs. For those who havenâ€™t started ARVs, it can ensure a healthy life, free from opportunistic infections and slow down the speed to a life with ARVs,â€ he said.
Aidah Naiga was wasting away with AIDS when her cousin, Massud Muganda, a businessman from Masaka, brought her Canova from Tanzania. She regained strength and was able to resume her work in a month. â€œI had given up hope. It was a miracle. Canova is now my life. I am told I cannot even qualify for ARVs now!â€ She said. Her CD4 count shot up to 600, above the level of a patient put on ARVs.
New wonder drug for HIV/AIDS