HIV cure: The Abalaka’s victory

HIV cure: The Abalaka’s victory
•It is sad that the claims on his drug had to become subject of litigation
The controversy over Dr. Jeremiah Abalaka’s claim to have patented a vaccine for the treatment of HIV has refused to go away. Of note, 15 years after the federal agency, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) banned the doctor and his vaccine, a Federal High Court presided over by Justice Binta Nyako, has lifted the ban on the use of the vaccine. According to media report, the court also restrained the Federal Government and NAFDAC from further interfering with the use of the vaccine.
We hope the judgment of the court is only to enforce the rights of Dr. Abalaka, to be treated fairly as ‘an inventor’ in accordance with the law, and not to grant him a free reign, not to submit to standard regulation, as provided by extant laws on authentication of medical discoveries. Dr.Abalaka had approached the court to challenge the ban placed on him by NAFDAC, and had claimed that he was offered monetary inducement to give away his discovery, which he rejected. Back then, the Federal Government had come out strongly to denounce the doctor, claiming that the discovery could not be authenticated.
It is unfortunate that such a matter that should be handled scientifically in accordance with laid-down rules and procedure, became a subject for litigation, with its own peculiar technicalities. For now, the implication of the judgment is that Dr. Abalaka was badly treated by the Federal Government and her agencies, over a matter that ought to have brought glory to the country, if the vaccine had the potency he ascribed to it.
But for the disagreement and counter-claims, we had thought that there is a standard procedure for the authentication of drugs, before use. Indeed, as the global race for the discovery of vaccine for Ebola disease showed recently, such standards are substantially universal. So, why would a Nigerian discovery, if the claim is true, end up in controversy?
Now that the court has restrained the Federal Government and NAFDAC from interfering with the vaccine, we hope Dr. Abalaka will proceed to conclude the authentication process, which from his claim appears to have been arrested. As a scientist, we believe that he will follow the process to completion, if he has not. Indeed, if NAFADC had made a mistake in unlawfully restraining the doctor and his vaccine, then it must own up, and allow unfettered use of the medication. After all, there is yet no known cure for that dreadful ailment, and who says a Nigerian cannot contribute to the body of medical knowledge for the benefit of the world?
If however the Federal Government feels that the court erred by granting that relief to Dr. Abalaka, then it must return to a higher court, to argue for a reversal of the judgment. The government and its agencies must not be ambivalent over this matter. Considering that it is the health of Nigerians that we are talking about, the relevant agencies should, as a matter of public importance, make a statement as to their position over the court judgment. The National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research which Dr.Abalaka claims authenticated the vaccine, also owes Nigerians a confirmation or rebuttal.
It will also be fair to properly compensate Dr. Abalaka if he was wrongly treated by the relevant agencies. His claim that he was offered inducement by the agents of the Federal Government should be investigated, to clear all the grey areas. Unfortunately many reasonable Nigerians out there believe Dr. Abalaka’s story, considering the neglect or lackadaisical attitude of government to research in the country.
source: The Nation


  1. The Nigerian psych and mentality are averse to inventors, generally. Ingeniers face the same hurdles daily at the work place. If you refuse to be made a mechanic, mason, or site labourer, etc, you are tagged insubordinate; knowing fully well that that was not what you were trained to do.
    Can a doctor leave his role of diagnosing ailments to do the jobs of Ward-maids, Mid-wife, Nurse, Lab techs and scientists, etc, or these people automatically becomes his superior just because they were there before him?
    Any drug is simply authenticated by verifying its claims, not to ask a man for his recipe. This could only amount to infringement on intellectual property. You could as well ask the man his ATM pin or open his undies to see his scrotal.


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