Fresh claims by Dr Jeremiah Ojonemi Alabi Abalaka have stoked a two-decade-old controversy over a Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) vaccine that can cure not just the dreaded disease but also Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) and Hepatitis B Virus (HBV).
Abalaka, in a WhatsApp and YouTube video that has gone viral, accused the United States and the Western world of taking advantage of Nigeria and people living with HIV/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) by selling “toxic” drugs for the treatment of the disease and at a very exorbitant price.
According to him, the Western world is not interested in a cure for HIV. It only seeks a ready market for its drugs that “do not provide a cure but damage the patient’s organ because of adverse side effects.”
The surgeon-turned immunologist, however, said that with a few kobos, he could cure many Nigerians of the virus and save the nation millions of dollars “wasted” yearly on procuring Anti-Retroviral drugs (ARV) from the West.
Abalaka told The Guardian: “I infected myself with HIV 20 years ago and today, I do not have HIV. I have a cure for HCV, HBV and HIV, not AIDS. The Western world has failed to find a cure for HIV after 35 years. They do not want to lose the global market for ARVs. I can cure HIV in a newly infected patient in five weeks, with the patient’s blood extracted and put back into the person within two hours…”
A report detailing Abalaka’s controversial “cure” for HIV, as well as a vaccine that prevents infection with the virus, has been published in a scientific journal, Vaccine.
According to a September 2004 article, the “cure” or therapeutic vaccine was developed from the blood of HIV patients. Abalaka claims it cleared the deadly virus from 20 people with HIV. (A therapeutic vaccine aims to bolster the immune response of a person already infected with a disease, to reduce or stop progression.)
Abalaka says further that his therapeutic vaccine eliminated antibodies for Hepatitis B and C viruses from the blood of co-infected HIV-positive patients and improved symptoms of malaria in a handful of patients. He claims he has tested his cure on almost 4000 HIV positive patients over six years and had used himself as a guinea pig for both therapeutic and preventive vaccines.
To test the preventive vaccine, he says he inoculated himself before injecting himself with HIV-positive blood on six separate occasions. He claims he did not contract the virus. He then tested the vaccine on about 300 HIV-negative people, saying none has yet developed the infection, as far as he knows.
Abalaka’s claim of a cure for HIV started in 1999. But the Federal Government shut him down. His work had caused a huge controversy, and altercations especially with the ministry of health. In 2015, however, after 16 years of legal tussle, Abalaka won a court case against the Federal Government’s ban on his vaccine.
His claims, however, have divided the medical sector. A school of thought, led by the President, the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) Dr Segun Olaopa, told The Guardian: “The government should listen to him and let us have some local approach to some world problems. He might just have some answers to the scientific problem.”
But another, led by the President, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr Francis Adedayo Faduyile, said, “I find some of the pronouncements not in line with orthodox medicine because in orthodox medicine, there are guidelines for getting treatment and they must be strictly adhered to.”
According to Faduyile, “In the history of the world, it is not acceptable to use human beings as guinea pigs. It is after it has passed through all the necessary stages that it can then be registered and given to human beings at the approximate dose. Any orthodox medical practitioner knows that pathway. You cannot have a drug and only you know what is in it, how it works and the dosage.
“I doubt if it is running to the media, government and National Assembly that makes that discovery acceptable. That is not known to the scientific world. I call on the public to be wary of such pronouncements. We have had so many and I think it is important to stress that it is not scientific, not orthodox and not the right way of doing things.”
Also, a specialist medical microbiologist and immunologist, Dr Abiodun Osiyemi, said the HIV Vaccine (‘Triple Cure Viral Vaccine’) by Dr Abalaka is a scam and not a cure. According to him, “This claim about the action of the vaccine is false and purely propaganda. The Federal Government, Federal Ministry of Health and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) must stop the mortalities being caused by the spurious vaccine now.”
Osiyemi who has worked with the Immunology Unit, British Medical Research Council, The Gambia, under the leadership of Prof. Hilton Whittle, was part of the first team to conduct studies on the Chemokinetics and Chemodynamics of Abalaka’s HIV Vaccine, AZT and 3TC on HIV 1 and HIV2. He said: “I dismissed the vaccine as fake since 2000. But it is very sad that the case is resurfacing as a viral video clip 19 years later. The vaccine is unwholesome and not suitable for human treatment especially because there is no approval, regulation or control of its administration on people.
“Very sadly, this vaccine led to hundreds of deaths in 2000-2001. Google my name and Abalaka’s and you will see how I was involved in preventing further genocide through enlightening people that the vaccine is fake.“This is the time for the Federal Government to act, to prevent the administration of unwholesome vaccines into human beings just anyhow in the 21st Century.”
Saladin Osmanov, acting coordinator of the joint World Health Organisation (WHO)/Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS) HIV vaccine initiative, warned that Abalaka’s vaccine has not been evaluated under the strict protocols required and that his work has not been independently reviewed by experts.
But the editor of Vaccine, Ray Spier, defended his decision to publish Abalaka’s findings in an editorial accompanying the report, saying: “Time is short and the prevailing situation demands action.” He said the findings were published as a report and not a peer-reviewed research paper, though Spier himself had assessed the work.