The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced a breakthrough in the treatment of HIV/AIDS with the discovery and approval of a drug developed by a team of scientists including Nigeria’s Professor Maurice Iwu.
The new drug, an oral botanical drug called Crofelemer is the second botanical, and an orally administered drug to be approved by FDA since 2006. The first botanical drug to be approved in the United States was a topical green tea extract, Veregen, in 2006. Both botanical drugs meet all US pharmaceutical requirements and can be dispensed only by prescription.
The research which led to the development of Crofelemer was carried out in the United States by a team of scientists including Professor Iwu, an acclaimed pharmacologist and tropical medicine expert.
According to Vanguard, the approval of Crofelemer was annouced on New Year’s Eve by the US Food and Drug Administration. It is used to treat HIV -associated diarrhea.
“Crofelemer is the first drug to be approved in the United States to treat HIV -associated diarrhea. It is derived from the latex of the South American sangre de drago tree (dragon’s blood, Croton lechleri). A red, blood-resembling latex leaks from the tree when its bark is cut, and it is this substance that contains the novel polymolecular structure crofelemer, originally developed and standardized by Shaman Pharmaceuticals. Fulyzag (Crofelemer) is the second botanical drug approved by the agency. The drug’s approval marks an important event in the decades-long history of Crofelemer.”
This is welcoming news especially for Nigerians who feel proud that one of our own was on the team that developed this drug. It is hoped that more breakthroughs in HIV/AIDS treatment would be found soon.