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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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Adeboye, AJ Boxer, Ajanaku, Tonto Dikeh Others Hailed As ‘COVID-19 Celebrity Champions’ In July Issue of Apple’s Bite International Magazine

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The midsummer issue of Apple’s Bite International Magazine identifies certain distinguished Nigerians across multiple sectors, who have lent various support in the fight against the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.
These individuals are Pastor E. A. Adeboye, David Adeleke (Davido), Asiwaju Rotimi Ajanaku, Tonto Dikeh, Archbishop Designate Isaac Idahosa, Anthony Joshua.
Others are Atunyota Alleluya Akpobome (Ali Baba), Bankole Wellington, Otunba Femi Davies, Prophet Emmanuel Omale, and Williams Uchemba.
These individuals are hailed as Covid-19 Celebrity Champions on the merit of their various contributions from donating health facilities to the government as isolation centers, making monetary donations to support the fight, championing awareness campaigns, sponsoring researches to find a cure for the virus and supporting thousands of indigent Nigerians who have suffered economic hardship as a result of the lockdown.
Get a copy of the July Issue of Apple’s Bite International Magazine to scoop all the details and visit www.applesbite.com for commentaries and news.
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Zimvest Economy Conversations: Financial Experts Call for Reorganization of Nigeria’s Market Architecture

Peter Okunoren

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Stakeholders in the Nigerian Capital market, Asset Management, and Banking Industries have called for a rethink of the nation’s economic philosophy and a reset of the financial market architecture. This was part of the major takeaways from the “Zimvest Economy Conversations”, a thought-leadership series of Digital Private Wealth and Investment Management Firm, Zimvest (Zedcrest Investment Managers) held on Saturday, June 20, 2020.

Giving the opening remark during the virtual event, Business Head of Zimvest, Gbenga Adigun, noted that investors are gravely concerned with investment returns in light of the current low yield environment while financial institutions are thinking of how their product development and service delivery should evolve with the changing needs of investors.

Bola Onadele Koko, CEO of FMDQ Group while delivering the keynote speech on the event theme “The Economic Landscape and Investor Preferences in Post-pandemic Africa”, talked about the toll the growing pandemic has had on African markets. He laid emphasis on the slow down in key segments of the economy including the financial markets, tourism, remittances, and foreign direct investments. He called for a rethink of Nigeria’s economic philosophy with clarity from the fiscal policymakers which will be critical for gaining investors’ confidence.

According to him, “Now is the time to develop new and ingenious ways to develop and drive the Nigerian financial market and in the continent at large. Private capital will especially be more essential as recent shocks have shown the limits of Governments’ abilities particularly in developing countries”, he said.

The capital market leader also stated that FX reforms will be critical for the Nigerian economy at this point; noting that trading activity in the Nigerian Fixed-Income and Interbank Currencies market is down by 55% due to economic slowdown linked to the Covid-19 pandemic.

All panelists in this first episode of the thought-leadership series pointed out that most investors were affected by the pandemic and are looking for further ways to diversify their portfolios that may end the year on a negative real return.

Speaking during the panel session, Abiola Adekoya, Wealth Expert and Ex-CEO at RMB Securities, stated that one of the key things that investors are concerned about in this era is the need for diversification, more liquidity, and higher investment returns.

In her words: “A lot of investors have been focused on one product and this pandemic has shown that that is not enough. The nascent interest in alternative assets has shown that there is strong liquidity in the overlooked retail space and Investment managers should pay keen attention and develop alternative assets products, and reduce the reliance on the traditional Fixed income, Money markets, and Equity offerings.

Buttressing Abiola’s position on alternative assets, Esiri Agbeyi, Partner and Head Private Wealth Services, PwC Nigeria, emphasized the need for investors to take keen interest in private equity and other alternative assets investments. She shared a PWC survey on Family Offices. The survey revealed that 63% of family businesses leaned towards private equity as an investment portfolio. Local pools of private capital are important to drive economic development

Onome Komolafe, Divisional Head of Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS), stated the need for improved product development and differentiation, clear market segmentation, and smart communication as tools that financial services firms can deploy in evolving with the changing consumer behavior. She also pointed to premium service delivery and technological innovation as crucial to the democratization of investment opportunities in Africa.

The Group Executive, Treasury & Financial Institutions at First Bank, Ini Ebong, pointed out the present opportunity available for investors, regulators, institutions, market practitioners to reset Nigerian financial market architecture. He noted that this opportunity presents itself mostly around periods of crisis.

According to him, as markets develop, the investing public becomes more able to embrace risk and go for higher return instruments outside traditional bank-based deposits.

“If you want high returns on investment, you must be willing to take on more risky investment products”, said Adetoun Dosunmu, Treasurer at FBN Merchant Bank. “Giving the highly specialized nature of investing, working with a regulated fund manager will be most beneficial to the investor in the long run and would protect against fraud and sharp practices from the teeming number of platforms offering untested investment opportunities”.

During his closing remark, the Founder of the Zedcrest Group and the Chief Host of the event, Saheed Adedayo Amzat, CFA, called on the Nigerian capital market stakeholders to unite to further capital formation in the country. He sounded a note of warning to Nigerians on suspicious wealth generation platforms.

“Many unsuspecting investors over the last three decades have lost their funds to unregulated institutions that promised unbelievable returns. All stakeholders in the sector need to speak up and inform the unsuspecting public about investment platforms. Our regulators need to do more with the support of all players in the Investment management space”, he opined.

The much-anticipated event lived up to its billings as over 1,150 participants engaged the speakers on investment challenges and opportunities they can tap into post-COVID.

Zimvest, the newly launched Investment Management subsidiary of Zedcrest, plans to be at the nexus of a continuing conversation series around Investment management and economic policy landscapes. The second edition of the series is to be announced soon.

A poll conducted during the event also shows that over 60% of participants prioritized “Capital Preservation” when choosing an investment option. Over 72% were concerned about inflation and exchange rate fluctuations and over 81% were concerned about Proven Track Record, Regulatory Compliance, and Transparency when choosing an investment management partner. The session ended at exactly 1 pm on the day.

For more information, please email [email protected]

A replay of this session can be watched via:

https://zoom.us/rec/play/upcscbr–z83GtOSuQSDBqcvW9W0e6KsgCVI__dYy0yyWiNQNlShYbAaMLScQgqeV7fIjyl2RsrXPBOZ

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PSHAN, Aig-Imoukhuede Kick off Design Phase of PHC Adoption Programme

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Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, in collaboration with the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria (PSHAN) has unveiled a new initiative geared towards significantly improving Nigeria’s healthcare system at the grassroots level.

The innovative strategy, in furtherance of a vision from an earlier stakeholders’ roundtable, entails delivering one Primary Healthcare Centre (PHC) in each of Nigeria’s 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) at global standards.

Under this private sector driven initiative, universal health access will be provided for low-income citizens residing in rural and urban areas through the Adopt-a-Health Facility Programme (ADHFP).

ADHFP, according to a release issued by the CEO of PSHAN, Mr. Sonny Nwarisi, will be sponsored by a group of Angel Investors and other institutions. These “Angels” will each take responsibility for one or more PHCs – they will build and operate the PHCs for the period of adoption under strict rules and guidelines. The ADHFP is a multi-impact initiative with several benefits including Saving lives, Improvement in health outcomes, Job creation, and Gender empowerment

Mr. Aig-Imoukhuede and PSHAN recently initiated the ADHFP design phase which will be handled by Vesta Healthcare Partners, a global healthcare consultancy firm.

This consultancy engagement is expected to deliver key program components such as Legal and Regulatory Framework, PPP Framework, PHC facility and management standards, Financing Arrangements, Governance Arrangements, Supply Chain Management, and Technology & Systems.

The design phase will involve the active participation of notable development-focused organizations including Global Citizen, ABCHealth, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, World Bank, International Finance Corporation (IFC), MTN Nigeria Plc, Dangote Group, Zenith Bank, Access Bank, Stanbic-IBTC Bank, PwC, Cisco, Ford Foundation, Nigerian Stock Exchange, and Flying Doctors Nigeria.

Others include Africa Practice, Cedar Advisory Partners, GBCHealth, Health Federation of Nigeria, Health Law, Eti-Osa Local Government, JNC International Ltd, Johnson & Johnson, Justice in Healthcare, Lagos State Government, MSD for Mothers, Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG), ONE Campaign, PharmAccess Foundation, Women-At-Risk International Foundation as well as the Lagos State Government and the SSA to the President on Sustainable Development Goals among others.

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