SOUTH Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) says laboratory tests on the Sondashi anti-HIV/AIDS herb has shown anti-HIV activity and is now ready for clinical tests on humans, according to Patson Chilemba, the First Secretary at the Zambian High Commission in South Africa.
The announcement was made by CSIR’s Biosciences Executive Director Dr Joe Molete and Technology Platform Manager Dr Vinesh Maharaj last week when Zambia’s High Commissioner to South Africa Mr Muyeba Chikonde conducted a familiarisation tour of that country’s largest research institute, CSIR.
Dr Maharaj said CSIR would now proceed to conduct mechanical studies on the herb because earlier laboratory tests on the Sondashi Formula (SF 2000) had shown anti-HIV activity.
He said capsules made from the herb had already been developed to improve patient compliance, and as a refined form on the traditional preparations Dr Ludwig Sondashi was initially using.
“To show that it can produce the same ingredients, and also to show that it has some biological effects against HIV, that has been demonstrated to this point,” Dr Maharaj said. “The next step before you could actually register such a product is to do clinical studies to show that it is safe in humans, and that’s where the capsules will be now evaluated in a clinical setting.”
Dr Maharaj said CSIR was in the process of signing an agreement on the issues to do with intellectual property and benefit sharing between all the partners involved namely CSIR, Dr Sondashi and the Zambian government, whom he said were sponsoring the clinical study partially.
He said the agreement was likely to be signed in Zambia.
“It’s a Zambian biodiversity, Zambian knowledge and so the best benefit should actually go to Zambia,” said Dr Maharaj.