NEW HOPE FOR HIV/AIDS PATIENTS: THE CASE OF A SUDANESE ADULT PATIENT
Mr. H., a 48-year-old aircraft pilot received untested blood after an aircraft accident. In August 2000, he became so weak that gave up work. He came to Khartoum Teaching Hospital for screening, was tested for HIV and was found to be seropositive on August 10th, 2000. His symptoms started three months before he was told the result of the test. He had been vomiting and had lost a considerable amount of weight. He contacted the team doing clinical trials of a herbal medicine and volunteered to be treated with the herb, Balanites aegyptica. It is administered in a divided dose for about 9 months. Before starting the treatment, a sample of his blood was taken and sent to the Central Public Health Laboratory in London for the viral load to be tested. The RNA copy per ml was 998000. The patient was started on treatment on November 11th 2000. He was slightly pale; his body weight was 61 kg and he had small rashes all over his body. A daily follow-up sheet was developed and his general condition was closely monitored.
After treatment, he had vomiting and diarrhea which settled after three days. One month later, another blood sample was taken and sent to the same laboratory in London. RNA copy had decreased to 660000 copies/ml. The patient noticed some improvement in his appetite. Two months after treatment began, the patient developed diarrhea and skin rashes which extended to his eyelids. He was given a skin ointment (ketoconazole) which cured it.
On January 30th 2001, he became slightly pale and had a hemoglobulin level of 7.2 gm/dl. Iron and multivitamins were prescribed.
By February 6th 2001, his body weight had increased to 65 kg. The skin rashes reappeared and again spread to the eyelids. He was again given a skin ointment by the dermatologist. By March 2001, his skin rashes had disappeared, and his body weight had increased to 75 kg. Another blood sample was taken and sent to the same laboratory in London. The result revealed more decrease in viral load. RNA copy was 384000 copies/ml. In April 2001, CD4 was estimated as 91.9.
In July 2002, the patient’s clinical symptoms disappeared but the blood picture showed slight anemia with an Hb count of 9.5 g/dl and eosinophilia (17.5%). The RNA copy decreased more than 90 fold to 4130 copies/ml. Liver function tests were carried out in the same laboratory and were found to be within normal limits (SGOT was 16 U/L, SGPT was 20 U/L). Renal function as indicated by urea level of 4.4 mmol/L was also within normal limits.
In September 2002, another viral load test and CD4 were done in Germany. The RNA copy had markedly decreased to 1350 copies/ml and the CD4 had risen to 114.
The herb used to treat the patient had been rigorously tested for safety on experimental animals: mice and rabbits. Results had shown that it was safe, non-toxic and had no serious side effects. The herb had been registered with WIPO (World Intellectual Property Right Organization) after it had been used for the treatment of viral hepatitis with encouraging results.
Therapy is considered effective1 if the viral load drops more than 5 fold during treatment. WHO and the American Public Health Association considered the improvement in the clinical condition of the patient and stated that a drop in the viral load and an increase of the CD4 were indicators of effective treatment.2,3 Accordingly, from the results of this case study it is concluded that Balanites aegyptica is clinically effective for HIV/AIDS patients since it improved the clinical condition of the case, increased body weight, and effected more than 100-fold decrease in viral load and an increase of CD4. However, this is only a summary of a case report to be followed by a proper case report. The definitive judgment on the new medication, however, will depend on the results of a carefully designed clinical trial on an adequate number of patients.
1.Monitoring antiretroviral treatment. Viral Load and PCR. (Serial Online) 1999, July 7. httpwww.cbc.govncidodEIDeid.htm.
2.World Health Organization and UNAIDS. Guidance modules on antiretroviral treatment. 1998.
3.James Chin, editor. Control of communicable diseases manual. 17th ed. 2000. The American Public Health Association.
Z.A. Zeidan, O.A. Hamed, A.O. Abdulmoneim, M.O. Abdulmoneim, H.A. Mohiddin, H.H. Abdulwahab, H.B. El Amin, P.O. Box 782, Khartoum North, Sudan