Thursday, 23 October 2014

BITTER KOLA CURE FOR EBOLA

A research group is to push emergency studies into a treatment for Ebola, more than 15 years after initial laboratory tests showed bitter kola had antiviral effects that could work against Ebola virus.
The Treatment Research Group for Ebola Disease comes after renewed interest in a 1999 work by Maurice Iwu, a professor of ethnophamacology, which claimed certain chemicals called flavinoids contained in bitter kola had anti-viral properties.
Research by Iwu, who is in the group, focused on tests in-vitro (in test tubes in laboratories), but never made it to in-vivo (human testing) and remained inconclusive.
But it has regained interest among Nigeria’s scientific community in the wake of Ebola—a virus similar to the flu-causing viruses that bitter kola extracts work against.
“In-vitro tests showed some activity against the virus,” said health minister Onyebuchi Chukwu.
But he said there’s been “no scientific evidence that the use of bitter kola will also prevent or cure Ebola.”
The research group, co-chaired by the heads of pharmaceutical and medical research, will take in and hope to verify claims relating to the use of bitter kola to treat diseases.
The plant is among local remedies many have taken to treat ailments as flu.
The group will also investigate the claims contained in Iwu’s uncompleted work from 1999, in addition to related research into Ebola and bitter kola around the world.
Over time, it will advise government on Ebola but its research will have ‘no limit,” said Chukwu.
“They will continue [research] until they produce several results.”
The group will approach its research into Ebola from three angles, said Dr co-chair Karniyus Gamaniel, director-general of National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development Council.
It will hope to “detect and monitor” how the virus resolves, monitor “clinical manifestations” along with how conditions resolve, and check on immunity—the ability of the body to resist the effect of the virus.
“We think we are capable. We have the competent virology lab and virology staff to do this,” Gamaniel said.
Co-chair Dr Innocent Ujah, director-general of Nigeria Institute for Medical Research, said the group, which went into its first meeting immediately after it was inaugurated in Abuja, will be briefing the country on its progress in time.

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