By CHARLES SIMENGWA -
THE Tian Immunity Booster (TIB) has continued to play a critical role in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa, as evidenced by its growing recognition on the continent.
Over the past decade, there have been notable steps in medical research which are making it possible for all to imagine a world without HIV/AIDS.
It is well-acknowledged that medical researchers are seeking ways to achieve universal HIV/AIDS treatment on the African continent through effective implementation of the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s 2016 ‘Treat All’ recommendation.
This is important because, according to UNAIDS, there were approximately 36.7 million people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS at the end of 2016.
Of these, 2.1 million were children under 15 years. An estimated 1.8 million individuals worldwide became newly infected with HIV in 2016, which translated in about 5,000 new infections per day.
Zambia, which is joining in commemorating the 2017 World AIDS Day, has taken ambitious steps to reverse the tide of new infections, as well as promote healthy lifestyles for those who have already contracted the virus.
This is necessary because in Zambia, more than 1.2 million people are living with HIV, and over a million have died from the disease.
“This is despite the virus only being identified in 1984, making HIV one of the most destructive pandemics in human history,” says Stanslous Ngosa, the head of communications and external relations at the Ministry of Health.
The World AIDS Day, an annual event commemorated worldwide on December 1, offers an opportunity for people to unite in the fight against the pandemic, and to show support for people living with HIV.
It is also used to remember those who have died from AIDS-related illnesses.
Zambia has shifted the date for this year’s commemoration, from December 1 to December 11, to be held under the theme ‘Ending AIDS by 2030 starts with me’.
According to Mr Ngosa, the change of the date is meant to expand participation countrywide following the launch of the Universal HIV Testing, Counselling and Treatment by President Edgar Lungu on August 15, this year.
Such an ambitious vision as ending AIDS by 2030 suggests employment of broader approaches, including herbal medicine.
A good example is the TIB, invented by Tian Shengxun, a medical practitioner since 1982 when he finished university study.
UNAIDS indicates that it is generally accepted that Anti-retroviral Therapy (ART) needs to be delivered as part of a comprehensive approach to prevention and care services.
These include voluntary counselling and testing, prevention of mother-to-child transmission, diagnosis and treatment of opportunistic infections and other HIV-related illnesses, and other prevention, care and social support services.
Similarly, a 2003 report on the provision of ART in resource-limited settings, prepared by the Health Systems Resource Centre for the United Kingdom Department for International Development, in collaboration with WHO, noted the severe strain of the pandemic on national health budgets.
Available evidence suggests that the HIV/AIDS epidemic is increasing demands on already pressed health systems, and undermining the capacity of systems to provide services through attrition of health sector workers.
Attempts to address the systemic impact of HIV/AIDS remain fragmented, confined to a few countries, and lacking the support of a coherent policy and resource framework.
The report notes that this will become more critical as countries move towards scaling up ART, since effective and efficient provision of ART will require well-functioning health systems.
Adequate infrastructure, including clinical care, laboratory and pharmacy facilities, is needed to deliver ART.
Limited health service infrastructure has been identified as a major constraint to scaling up ART in many resource-poor countries.
In Mozambique, the current infrastructure is inadequate to meet the demands of a large-scale programme, and the 2003 strategic plan for scaling up identified areas that require attention, among them the rehabilitation of facilities, acquisition of equipment, and HIV/AIDS laboratory and blood bank services.
Anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) programmes need a regular and timely supply of quality drugs and supplies at competitive prices.
This should also include laboratory reagents and related supplies, and drugs for HIV-related illnesses.
“The system must be able to buffer against uncertainties in funding and minimise risks of interrupted supplies, since continuous treatment is critical to minimise the development of resistance.
“A secure supply chain, with no leakage and interruptions, is also essential alongside strict monitoring of inventory levels and secure storage facilities,” notes the report.
There is already an illegal market in ARVs in many countries, and leakage of government-provided drugs could worsen the risk of inappropriate use of ARVs and development of resistance.
In Zambia, the Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS this year protested against the difficulties they were facing at times in accessing ARVs.
Against such a background, it is important for any country to embrace all the available options in preventing a further explosion of the pandemic.
Professor Tian, who is based in Nairobi, Kenya, says the fight against HIV/AIDS could become more effective if infected people received a combination of conventional ARVs and traditional medicines
TIB, which has been registered by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board under the Ministry of Health in Kenya, is working wonders in people living with HIV/AIDS, including in ART failure cases.
A recent report by the Ministry of Health in Kenya and the United Nations stated that there were “unacceptably” high failure rates of ARVs among refugees and residents of Kakuma, in the northern part of the East African country.
The Tian Immunity Booster is a 100 per cent extraction of herbs manufactured in tablet or capsules form.
The drug has been granted international invention patent certificates from China, Africa and the European Union (EU).
It comprises pure herbal products with sugar-coated tablets whose active ingredients are extracted from 100 per cent herbs using modern technology.
Prof Tian, in an interview from Nairobi, said TIB is of multiple targets to control viral load.
It particularly blocks the fusion taking place between the HIV and CD4 cells, which implies that it can stop HIV from infecting the CD4 cells being fusion inhibitor.
TIB has proved to be useful in tackling opportunistic infections such as tuberculosis (TB), and even multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), which is a global threat.
MDR-TB threatens to kill 75 million people by the year 2050, costing US$16.7 trillion, which is the equivalent of the EU’s annual output, a UK parliamentary group stated some time back.
For this reason — and as a cure for AIDS remains elusive — African countries should widen their treatment options and tap into herbal medicines such as TIB