The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) on Thursday said it has received with great delight the recent and encouraging research finding of a possible ‘Functional cure’ of HIV/AIDS in a child, presented at a recent (March 3, 2013) conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic infections in Atlanta, USA.
The finding of a possible cure in a baby born two-and-a-half years ago in Mississippi, USA, was presented by a team of researchers led by Dr. Deborah Persaud, an Associate Professor of Pediatrics in the division of infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore.
In a press signed the NMA President, Osahon Enabulele, the association commended the team of US researchers for their research efforts and finding, which undoubtedly opens a new vista in the global efforts to produce a cure for HIV/AIDS.
The statement reads, “NMA strongly canvasses the need for replication of similar studies in Nigeria and other parts of Africa (with use of similar factors employed in the 18months treatment of the child). In line with this objective, the Nigerian Medical Association has directed its Research committee as well as its HIV/AIDS Committee to deeply understudy the research finding with a view to replicating similar research studies in Nigeria, in collaboration with relevant research institutions, Universities and the National Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS (NACA).
“While NMA appreciates the need for replication of the research study, we nevertheless consider the case of the Mississippi baby a great fillip to on-going researches to generate a cure for HIV/AIDS, and therefore expect the enthusiasm of researchers in Africa and Nigeria in particular where there is still an immense burden of HIV/AIDS, to be fired up.
“We therefore call on Governments at all levels, Universities and research institutions and agencies, particularly NACA, to invest more in researches aimed at discovering a global cure for HIV/AIDS.
“While we urge further research studies in Nigeria and other African countries, what is immediately obvious is that the current finding by the United States Research Team potentially offers, in the least, tremendous hope to Infants/Children afflicted with HIV/AIDS. Expectedly, this will help reduce Infant and Child Mortality and the global burden of HIV/AIDS. Truly, it will help accelerate progress towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), particularly MDGs 4 and 6.
“The NMA also views the heartwarming finding by the team of researchers as one that once again underscores the need for adequate and appropriate testing/investigation of pregnant mothers, particularly the assessment of their retroviral status (es) to facilitate early detection and treatment of infected pregnant mothers as well as their new born infants. This is especially important in resource poor and developing countries with limited capacity for highly intensive and well-funded researches into HIV/AIDS.
“Despite the enthusiasm that has been triggered by the latest findings, we urge that efforts at HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment in Nigeria be stepped up, with more people living with HIV/AIDS enrolled in the anti-Retroviral drug treatment program of the federal government of Nigeria.”