Sports, Health & Lifestyle
Written By: Thuria Ghaleb
Article Date: Dec 19, 2006 - 12:57:00 PM
Al-Zindani talks about his drug in the celebration of the World AIDS Day.
Sheikh Abdul-Majid al-Zindani, president of the Al-Iman University, has announced that he, with the help of a handful of scientists, has crafted a medicine formulated to cure HIV/AIDS patients. The news immediately provoked a flurry of controversy among regional and international health professionals, researchers, and academics, many of whom remain highly skeptical of al-Zindani’s claim.
Al-Zindani, who is the head of the Committee of Scientific Miracles of the Holy Quran, an affiliate of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, claimed that the research carried out by the Research Center at his Islamic school to treat HIV/AIDS carriers has born fruit. The announcement has been made repeatedly on a number of occasions; the most recent of which was during the celebration of the World AIDS Day, held in Sana’a University under the patronage of the Health Minister.
Many people were less than enthusiastic about al-Zindani’s announcement. Dr. Jamil al-Mughales, the head of the Clinical Immunology Services of King Abdul Aziz University, said that if he were the Minister of Health, he would put al-Zindani in jail. “Me and my friends were totally upset about the way he is dealing with the disease,” he said. “I am one of the people who personally saw the blood test of one of the patients, who was told by al-Zindani to have sex with his wife because he is virus-free, but then when I saw the results, he still had HIV,” he said.
“I hope that the mass media does not give him more press, because I think he has some hidden motives, because he is on the list of the terrorist lists,” he said. “He has to follow the scientific ethics by sending his discovery to some specialized authorities to make sure of his discovery,” he said. “It is disastrous that a doctor like Husni al-Jawsha’ai agreed to support al-Zindani,” said al-Mughales. “He is doing research in fields in which he has no specialization.”
Dr. al-Jawsha’ai is one of al-Zindani’s medical team who has made a confirmation on al-Zindani’s statements about the drug at the celebration. Zindani told Al-Jazeera (live) last fortnight that his drug needs to be registered under copyright before he announces its composition. He added that the available anti-AIDS medicines have dangerous side effects, and can damage the liver, kidneys and general health. “But my drug does not have any side-effects,” he said in the celebration of the World AIDS Day.
“Besides, HIV/AIDS patients have to take the other drugs forever. If someone stops taking it for just one week, the HIV virus will return. But my drug cures the patient completely. So, the patient does not need to have my drug for all his life. These other medicines are also very expensive, with average cost between $11,000 -$15,000 per year. So the poor cannot afford treatment. But my drug will be available and very cheap,” he saidAccording to the statistics from the Ministry of the Public Health and Population, the number of people infected with HIV/AIDS in Yemen increased from a single case in 1990 to 60 cases in 1996.
By 2001, that number had increased to 870, and by 2006 it increased to 1,821. But these numbers probably dramatically underestimate the number of Yemeni people with the virus. Many experts believe that 15 cases go unreported for every case that is officially recorded. According to the World Health Organization, 11,227 people in Yemen are infected. AIDS is now a pandemic, with an estimated 38.6 million people now living with the disease worldwide.
As of January 2006, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS and the World Health Organization estimate that AIDS has killed more than 25 million people since it was first recognized on June 5, 1981, making it one of the most destructive epidemics in recorded history. In 2005 alone, AIDS claimed an estimated 2.4 to 3.3 million lives, of which more than 570,000 were children. A third of these deaths are occurring in sub-Saharan Africa, slowing economic growth and destroying human capital. Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said in a speech commemorating World AIDS Day (December 1, 2006) that in the 25 years since the first case was reported, AIDS has changed the world.
It has killed 25 million people, and infected 40 million more. It has become the world’s leading cause of death among both women and men aged 15 to 59. “Of course, much more work is needed;” Annan said. “By 2010, total needs for a comprehensive AIDS response will exceed $20 billion a year. But we have at least made a start on getting the resources and strategies in place.”
The National Program to Combat AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases, co-organizer of the function at the University of Sana’a, has held many mass, cultural, and educational activities in Sana’a and different governorates. World AIDS Day was held this year under the slogan (Stop AIDS... Keep The Promise). The celebration included carnivals and other activities. Boy and girl scouts, as well as the military orchestra, wandered through the streets of Sana'a. The boys and girls carried various slogans and educational statements about AIDS written on signboards.
The marches eventually reached the Shari'a and Law school, where the event took place. During the celebration, the first episode of a television series called Hayatona (Our Life) was screened. It focused on AIDS, and how to deal with its patients and how to avoid infection. Songs on the same issue were sung. Drawings about the stigma and discrimination against AIDS patients were exhibited, as were photographs, in the hopes of raising public awareness of this issue. Fawzia Gharama, the head of the program, said the world celebrates this day not to celebrate the disease itself, because diseases are not to be celebrated, but to remember HIV/AIDS patients’ pain and suffering.
A part of the audience present at the celebration
AIDS knows no geographical borders AIDS infects about 14,000 persons per day; about 12,000 are between 15 and 49 years old. Sidgi Hassan, an immunologist and the Executive Director of Medical Research Center at the University of Science and Technology, said that he took samples of the drug developed by Zindani’s team. The samples were tested according to world medical methods. After testing this drug on 13 AIDS patients, samples of the patients’ blood were sent to Germany to be tested accurately. “The results shocked me,” Hassan said. “They have proved that this drug is very effective at curing the HIV/AIDS patients completely, and without any side-effects.”
Moreover, he showed the results to an American doctor named Mac Holidnei in Texas, who did not believe his eyes when he saw the results. “I have never seen one patient infected with HIV/AIDS who has the HIV virus and then suddenly does not in only four weeks,” said Holidnei. This drug has also been used by a pregnant woman, infected with HIV/AIDS. The virus has completely disappeared. But the unexpected results came when she had given birth to a baby free of HIV/AIDS. “It came as a surprise to all of us,” said Dr. Hassan. Al-Zindani, who is originally a pharmacist, has refused to disclose the components of his new herbal drug to the foreign companies.
He thinks that they will steal his composition. But he called experts and scientists in this field to visit Yemen and experience this medicine themselves, which was inspired from a Hadith (saying) of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), prophetic traditions. The Yemen Observer tried several times to get blood tests for a patient treated by the sheikh’s medicine, to get proof that the patients were positive for HIV when they checked in for treatment. We also demanded copies of the blood test results during and after the treatment, to confirm that the patient is AIDS/HIV negative. Dr. Hassan said that everything is still confidential and can’t be disclosed at the time being.
“The World International Foundations said that the structure established for such scientific researches is not available in Yemen. They also said that a lot of countries that have progressed in such research failed to find a drug to get rid of this disease completely. The answer is not available in the structure of the scientific researches but it is the inspiration came from God,” said al-Zindani. “The research on patients taking this drug were based on the protocol made by me according to the International Standards,” said Hassan. “A lot of companies give us offers to adopt this drug called Ea’jaz 3, Miracle 3.”
“The patients who take this drug and are cured from HIV/AIDS stop visiting us for one year. After that, they come to be examined again. Samples of their blood are again sent to Jordan and Germen to be tested. The results are negative and I cannot do anything but pray to God,” said Hassan. “I now ask the sheikh to stop announcing any news about this drug and ask him to allow any trusted company to come and discuss the whole issue with me.
Then it can take this drug and complete the researches. I am confident that this medicine is a real cure to the HIV infection. I do not have any other thing to say, but the only thing and the proof lays in the test results and documents,” said Dr. Hassan, who is also the head of the scientific team researching this drug.
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