By Brenda Zulu
Higher Education Minister Michael Kaingu says enhanced research and scientific investigations are key in addressing various challenges affecting the people. And Dr Kaingu says his ministry will closely work with the Ministry of Health to conduct HIV clinical trials for herbal remedies. Dr Kaingu was speaking at Lusaka’s Kenneth Kaunda International Airport where he witnessed the arrival of processed Twenty three Thousand Sondashi formula – HIV and AIDS herbal Capsules that under went trial in South Africa. And Dr. Ludwig Sondashi the inventor of Sondashi fomula said he is happy that clinical trials will now be done fifteen years since he invented the herbal remedy. Lusaka Times
Dr Ludwig Sondashi a Lawyer, Politician, Businessman and Herbalist based in Zambia has been covered in the news for the past 15 years over his claims that he has the treatment and cure for the Human Immune-Deficiency Virus (HIV).
Many HIV positive patients have approached him for the Sondashi Formular 2000 (SF2000) and some have testified that they have tested negative after taking the medicine for sometime.
When I visited Dr Sondashi’s office, I was shown a list with about 7 latest names of people who had been reported to have been negative after taking the medicine for more than six months.
Dr Sondashi explained that before one starts taking the SF-2000 medicine, they are advise to go for a viral load test in order for them to assess one’s progress whilst taking the SF-2000. The viral load test is done to determine the number of viruses one has in the body. After taking the formula for three months or more, one is advised to go for another viral load test. This will enable one to estimate how much more of the formula one requires.
Even if one does not have money to go for a viral load test one can still start taking the SF-2000. A bottle lasts for seven days or slightly over seven days. In a month or more, as an adult, you require four bottles of the Sondashi formula. One week treatment costs about $40 for the powder and $60 in capsules.
Dr Sondashi said the price for the medicine had been cheap because in 2000 the formular used to cost $50 US dollars. “The price has remained the same for the past 13 years,” he said.
What is SF-2000?
This remedy is in powder form and is for the treatment and cure of HIV/AIDS. The powder is a mixture of more than 2 plants coded SF-2000.
When I tasted the powder, it is tastes bitter. I asked him if he had any plans to add some flavour for easy medicine intake, he said he was scared that some people would take more than recommended since a patient is supposed to take more only three teaspoons a day. He said the powder form was easy to keep and store.
Dr Sondashi explained that the medicine has been tested scientifically in the laboratories in Zambia, South Africa and United States of America and has been found to be non-toxic to normal MT4 cells and efficacious by killing the HIV virus and does not interfere with other medicines that one may be taking.
It has also been tested in animals and has been found safe. The Government of Zambia is now preparing to carry out further trials of safety and efficacy in human beings.
Complementary to these findings, in 2006 the National Aids Council (NAC) conducted an open observational and explanatory clinical study and 10 people were put on SF-2000. The product showed that six out of ten increased in CD4 cell count correspondent to Viral Load reduction and also their physical and clinical status improved drastically. No side effects have been noticed in pregnant women or children. Up to date the improvement in patients suffering from HIV/AIDS has been remarkable.
The SF-2000 medicine should be taken until a person is tested negative and the period varies from individual to individual. It may take about 6 months or one year, or even longer than this, depending on one’s status of illness. Remember that SF-2000 has been found scientifically to kill the HIV virus.
It has been discovered that 3 days after taking this medicine one will certainly feel some changes in their body. For instance, symptoms such as sleeplessness, tiredness, lack of appetite, body pains, coughing, rashes etc will start disappearing. Generally, the symptoms tend to disappear after the treatment of at least one to two months; furthermore, the cure requires a much prolonged treatment for people who are very ill and for those who have been on ARVs. The remedy is also now in capsule form. SF-2000 can also be taken in combination with ARVS.
What to observe?
Patients are advised to go for an HIV test, CD4 count and viral load tests before taking the remedy. This will assist in the monitoring of the progress being made by the patient. HIV, CD4 count and viral load tests are recommended at regular intervals of three months until the patient is tested negative.
And also effective protection is recommended from the day of treatment, even when both partners are under medication. Increased alcohol consumption is not recommended while you are on Sondashi Formula.
Dr Sondashi founded this medicine in the year 1999, and in 2000, he discovered that the medicine could cure and treat HIV/AIDS diseases.
“It is GOD who helped me find this medicine. It all started when I was looking for an HIV cure for my first born son who had suffered from it. After going to western doctors and failing to see my son get healed, I started going the traditional doctors. My son passed away before I found the sondashi formula,” explained Dr Sondashi.
He added that he paid different traditional doctors money to be shown the cure for opportunistic HIV infections which after he mixed together the different herbs could cure the HIV.
“If this medicine can cure some HIV opportunistic infections, supposing you combine this together don’t you think this can cure AIDS?” asked Dr Sondashi.
The following is an analysis of both invitro (laboratory) and vivo (human and animals) tests which have been subjected to the Sondashi Formula.
In the year 2003, Dr Sondashi handed over the herbal medicine to late Dr Patrick Chikusu of the National AIDS Council (NAC), who was Chairman of the National Technical Committee, on traditional and alternative remedies, for testing.
On 13th September, 2004, after carrying out the laboratory testing, Dr. Chikusu informed the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, that SF-2000 medicine and two other medicines from other herbalists were assessed for safety and were found to have no toxicity to normal MT4 cells and were found to be non-toxic.
The medicines were tested against HIV Sub Type B and found to be efficacious, by killing HIV Sub Type B at specific dilution which is non toxic to normal MT4 cells, and that the interesting finding was of great national importance; especially Sondashi Formulation from herbs of Zambia.
On the 14th October 2004, Dr. S.K. Miti, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health sent Dr Sondashi a letter, enclosing the above stated Report. It was from this preliminary finding that the late President Levy Mwanawasa obtained funding and directed the NAC to give permission to Dr. Chikusu, as Principal Investigator, to carry out further clinical observations on this herbal medicine among others.
The letter to the Minister of Health read in part as follows:
“With regard to your requests that consideration be given to the National AIDS Council carrying out research on the Sondashi formulation, as far as I am concerned I do not care which organisation carries out the necessary research. What we want to know is whether this formulation constitutes a cure. I regret that from a layman’s point of view, I see nothing which has been demonstrated that there have been any appreciable tests carried out on the Sondashi formulation. As I have consistently informed you, I know of at least 5 people who have been cured of this disease after taking the Sondashi formulation in the sense that they have been tested positive before starting and then negative afterwards. The tests have been repeated on at least 3 different occasions of three months intervals. The negative results have remained constant,” said Mr Mwanawasa.
Dr Sondashi was then given ten patients, whom he administered the Sondashi Formula over a period of six months.
These open observational and exploratory clinical studies lasted from 17th November 2005 to 26th April 2006. The Sondashi formula was best found to be the best among the three herbal medicines submitted for trials. Dr. Chikusu, on 4th April 2007, wrote a letter to Dr Sondashi, informing him of how his product performed in a herbal formulation clinical study.
The objective of the study was to evaluate Safety and efficacy as well as physical and Clinical status of HIV positive clients. The product was evaluated for any spicing with commonly used antiretrovirals.
Sondashi’s formula was found to be safe as there was no toxicity, which could be attributed the product. On Spicing, there was no commonly used anti retroviral noted in the product. On efficacy the product showed that six out of ten patients increased in CD4 cell count correspondent to viral load reduction.
Clinical, physical status showed an increase in body weight, appetite and there were no opportunistic infections such as meningitis, tuberculosis, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and Diarrhoea.
He went on to say that “from this, it is important that further studies be made for a larger group and longer period and that he hoped that Dr Sondashi would enter into discussion with Government to further this work.”
Since these findings of Dr Chikusu were disputed in Zambia, he decided to take his medicine to South Africa for a second opinion. There a Council for Science and Industrial Research (CSIR) under the sponsorship of NEPAD welcomed his medicine and carried out laboratory trials both in South Africa and the United States of America (USA).
From 2007-2010 the Southern Africa Network for Biosciences (SANBio), a NEPAD Programme, funded a network of laboratories in Zambia and South Africa to scientifically investigate Dr Sondashi’s claims.
Following a regional consultative Conference of SANBio held in Lusaka in March 2007, SF2000 was selected as the first remedy to be investigated under the NEPAD Drug Discovery Bio prospecting Platform. Through this platform NEPAD with support from the Governments of South Africa and Finland provided US$650 000 for skills training and the purchase and equipment to thoroughly test Dr Sondashi’s traditional plants.
NEPAD established a legal environment for cross-border collaboration among eight research organizations in Zambia and South Africa to work on SF-2000. The research was aimed at investigating the safety and efficacy of the traditional preparation. In clinical evaluation of the more effective focus was on isolating and identifying active compounds in the herbs, testing SF-2000 on different types of HIVs, determining acceptable dosage, and manufacturing SF-2000 into capsules as well as quality assurance.
Extracts of the plants provided by Dr. Sondashi have been tested for their action against different types of human immune-deficiency viruses. Results show that SF-2000 was effective under laboratory conditions on one particular type of HIV known as HIV Strain C by reducing the viral load.
The findings in both countries confirmed the findings by Dr. Chikusu made in Zambia, precisely their findings were as follows:
That SF-2000 was effective against both HIV sub-type B and sub-type C. That it was more pronounced against sub-type C, the good news being that sub-type C strain is the most relevant type found in Africa.
The safety studies conducted on the mice showed that there was no toxicity which could be attributed to the product.
That SF-2000 attacks and kills the HIV virus irreversibly and does so without harming the CD4 cell etc.
It is from these findings that a combined delegation of NEPAD, CSIR and MRC of South Africa arranged to meet the Zambian team of Scientists in Lusaka to inform them of this good news and to map out the way forward, since under NEPAD which was spear-heading these investigations. Zambia was required to play a role as the owner of the biodiversity and founder of the herbal medicine.
At that meeting which took place at Anina’s Executive Lodge in Lusaka, the South African and Zambian scientists recommended that Zambia played a part in hosting the safety clinical trials and the funding of those clinical trials.
Zambia released about K800 000 ($ 146 000) towards these clinical trials and have chosen to take place at Ndola Central Hospital by Tropical Disease Research Centre (TDRC). It is these trials which are being awaited, once concluded positively, they will open the way for declaring the SF2000 safe for human consumption. Since the medicine has already been found to be efficacious in the laboratory (invitro) tests.
Dr Sondashi said this was an important milestone to clear as it will inspire further, the governments of Zambia and South Africa, the international pharmaceutical companies and well wishers like businessmen in Zambia to offer themselves to fund the final efficacy clinical trials in vivo, in human beings, as well as studies in detecting the active ingredient in the SF2000 to boost commercialisation.
Labels: AIDS, Clinical Trials, HIV, SF2000