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GOODNEWS: New HIV Drug Eliminates 99% Of Virus Within Four Weeks — Israeli Coy

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Zion Medical, an Israeli biotech company developing HIV and cancer treatments, has announced the results of the first clinical trial of HIV-drug Gammora, eliminating up to 99 percent of the HIV virus within four weeks of treatment.

Investigational Medicinal Product Gammora is a synthetic peptide compound derived from the HIV enzyme integrase, which is responsible for inserting the virus’s genetic material into the DNA of the infected cell.

Gammora stimulates the integration of multiple HIV DNA fragments into the host cell’s genomic DNA, to an extent that triggers the self-destruction of the infected cell, called apoptosis.

The peptide, produced by San Diego, California-based PolyPeptide Labs, has the potential to cure HIV infected patients, by destroying all cells carrying the HIV virus-genome.

This is opposed to the commercially available retroviral treatments, the so-called “cocktail,” which merely suppresses the spreading of the virus, but do not cure the infection.

Between July and August 2018, Zion Medical conducted a Phase 1/2a human clinical trial of Gammora, reaffirming results of prior preclinical tests that had shown the safety and effectiveness of the drug in killing HIV-infected cells.

In the Part I of this trial, nine HIV-infected patients at the Dr. Ronald Bata Memorial Hospital in Entebbe, Uganda, were randomly assigned to receive either 0.05-0.2 mg/kg, or 0.1- 0.3 mg/kg, or 0.2-0.4 mg/kg of Gammora for up to four weeks to five weeks.

Most patients showed a significant reduction of the viral load of up to 90 percent from the baseline during the first four weeks.

In Part II of the study, conducted two weeks after the first, patients were given Gammora with additional retroviral treatment combined for another four weeks to five weeks.

Patients received either commercially available lopinavir 800 mg and ritonavir 200 mg (LPV+r) daily in combination with Gammora 0.2-0.4 mg/kg given twice a week, or LPV+r only.

The results found that combined-treated patients demonstrated sustained viral suppression and achieved HIV-1 RNA <300 copies/mL, and showed up to 99 per cent reduction in viral load from baseline within four weeks.

Through the 10 weeks, patients in both studies demonstrated that Gammora is a safe and well-tolerable drug, exhibiting no side effects.

Patients showed a significant increase of the CD4 cell count – up to 97 percent from the baseline.

CD4 cells, also referred to T cells or T helper cells, play an important role in the body’s immune system and are an indicator of its overall health.

“These first clinical results were beyond our expectations and promise hope in finding a cure for a disease that’s been discovered over 35 years,” says Dr. Esmira Naftali, head of development at Zion Medical. “Given the limited nature of this study, we are excited to prove the efficiency of our drug in Phase 2b with a greater number of participants over a longer period of time.”

Abraham Loyter, professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, first started research on this novelty drug about 10 years ago, having been granted patents for the peptide in 2015 and 2017 (U.S. Patent No. 9163067, 9738878).

Zion Medical in-licensed the compound and has been continuing research and development through pre-clinical and clinical stages, building an entire team of researchers around the development of Gammora.

On August 31, 2018, Zion Medical filed another patent application with the US Patent and Trademark Office for an updated version of the peptide and final drug composition.

New York City’s Mount Sinai Hospital has collaborated with Zion in earlier stages of development and might partner with the company again in the future.

The company hopes to start Phase 2b in the coming months, involving around 50 patients that are given Gammora over two to three months.

Israel-based Zion Medical was established in 2014 with the mission to develop groundbreaking medical solutions for HIV/AIDS and cancer.

It is known for its patented synthetic peptide Gammora, which is derived from the HIV enzyme integrase and has been proven to be effective in killing HIV-infected cells, and which has also shown promising results with some types of cancers cells.

PR Newswire.

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ASUU Gives Conditions To Suspend Strike

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Thursday gave conditions upon which the prolonged industrial action will be suspended.

“The Academic Staff Union of Universities @ASUUNGR have asked @AsoRock to release N50 billion to demonstrate its commitment to the revitalisation of public universities, in line with previous agreements with the union,” ASUU tweeted.

The union said the N50 billion will form the first share of the N220 billion federal government agreed for the project this year and add to the N20 billion earlier released for the year.

It also disclosed that the union has “submitted its suggestions and awaits a meeting with the government next week.”

The lecturers are demanding improved funding of universities and implementation of previous agreements with the government, which led to the strike that started November 4, 2018.

Although the minister of labour, Chris Ngige, last Thursday said the government has approved N20 billion to be used to offset the outstanding arrears, ASUU said they are still awaiting its payment.

“Government promised to release the shortfall in salaries by January 18th, that’s a day away. Let’s wait and confirm that they’ve released it.”

“The union has submitted its suggestions and awaits a meeting with the government next week,” he added.

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Atiku’s US Trip: So Much Ado About Nothing —– Tunde Ajose

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For good watchers of the Nigerian politics, one thing has come to stay in our political experiment at getting it right in this country and that is the ability for smart politicians to easily sway the electorates with mundane issues.

The campaigns are no longer issue based but media sensationalism.

Latest of such was the sudden appearance of the former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in the United States of America! Then one begins to wonder why the opposition would think such is the needed magic wand to win the election.

And the euphoria may not be unconnected with the report that Atiku was barred from entering the States because of his fraudulent nature but the question is, why would any serious opposition believes such action would immediately translate into winning the Aso Rock.

One would have wondered why Atiku has chosen to travel with the current senate president, Dr. Bukola Saraki? Could it be that he actually traveled under the diplomatic immunity of Saraki’s official delegation?

Diplomatic immunity is a form of legal immunity that ensures diplomats are given safe passage and are considered not susceptible to lawsuit or prosecution under the host country’s laws, but they can still be expelled.

We need to be circumspect as we move forward as a nation and be more discerning. The current government of Nigeria is focused more than before in ensuring that Nigerians, regardless of the class or status has a befitting country they could fall back to and call a home.

It is quite obvious that while the opposition are playing to the gallery, the presidential campaign organisation of president Mohammad Buhari is busy rolling up its sleeves and getting down to fields where the real electorates are and connecting with them.

This past week especially has been full of activities for the president despite his age. Within a spate of two weeks, Buhari had sat down to two interviews in-between journeying from the length and breadth of the country in getting the message of hope down to the people.

The president does not rely on his privilege as an incumbent, but insisted on talking to his people and ensuring that Nigerians are united as they go to polls come February.

No one is in doubt that his message also resonates well with the citizens as they troop out en masse to welcome and listen to what he has to say. With the multitude of crowd recorded today as he presented the gubernatorial flagbearer of the party to the good people of Delta State and the ovation that greeted it, there is no doubt that Buhari is truly loved.

As we count down to the elections, Nigerians need to bear it in mind that the 2019 election is about building on a new foundation which the present government has been able to achieve in the first four years and giving the solid foundation out to the marauders to destroy along with the better forgotten 16years in power.

If Atiku is in the United States today, there is no way the intelligence agencies of the federal government of Nigeria would not know about it.

Tunde Ajose, a political commentator, writes from Lagos.

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Two Church Guards Steal Pastor’s Daughter’s Pants In Ondo

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Two security guards, Samuel Linus and Adekunle Ogundana, who allegedly stole two underwears belonging to the daughter of a clergyman within a church’s premises in Akure metropolis, were yesterday paraded alongside suspected kidnappers by Ondo State Police Command.

Briefing newsmen in Akure, the state Police spokesperson, Femi Joseph, said the daughter of the clergyman washed two of her pants and spread them on the line at about 8p.m. in the presence of the guards and by 6a.m., next day, the panties disappeared.

Joseph said the suspects, who are attached to the orthodox church, were posted to the apartment, which was highly fortified by a private security outfit in the state.

The suspects, however, denied complicity in the offence for which they were paraded.

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