JUST as its name implies in Shona, Aguma (Meaning it has ended), the purported HIV curing herb publicly launched on Sunday by Prophetic Healing and Deliverance frontman Prophet Walter Magaya might have reached a dead end amidst indications the controversial herb has not been approved for retailing or consumption on the Zimbabwean market, HealthTimes can exclusively reveal.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
Speaking to HealthTimes, the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) Projects and Public Relations Officer Shingai Gwatidzo argued that the so-called HIV cure named Aguma from the cleric was not in their database.
“…But we can confirm that this medicine is not registered with the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe,” he said.
Mr Gwatidzo said investigations to ascertain the authenticity of this medicine fetching $1000 for a full course are on going.
” We are still conducting investigations to gather enough facts regarding this medicine,” Mr Gwatidzo said.
MCAZ is responsible for protecting public and animal health by ensuring that accessible medicines and allied substances and medical devices are safe, effective and of good quality through enforcement of adherence to standards by manufacturers and distributors. MCAZ is also mandated by Law to register, test and approve all medical and alternative better known as herbal medicines in Zimbabwe.
Mr Gwatidzo explained that no tests have been done to validate the quality of this ‘miraculous-yet-expensive’ medicine.
” It has not been assessed for safety, efficacy or quality,” he said.
He urged members of the public to use registered medicines.
“We urge members of the public to get registered medicines, from approved sources and licensed persons,” Mr Gwatidzo said.
Government through the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services minister Monica Mutsvangwa also dismissed Magaya’s claims.
“Medicines go through rigorous tests including clinical trials, which involve use of the product under strict medical supervision. This is done prior to registration and the results are submitted to the medicines regulator as evidence of the effectiveness of a medicine,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
She said if the said trials were to be conducted in Zimbabwe, the Secretary for Health and Child Care would have to authorise them to ensure that patients received safe, effective and reliable medicines.
Minister Mutsvangwa said in this case neither did the medicines register nor the register of clinical trials had records for Aguma. Further, she said, herbal medicines now required approval by the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe and the said product had not yet been submitted for review and assessment.
On the Aguma website, the Magaya’s HIV cure which is just another immune booster fetching $500 for a 14 day trial and $1000 for the full course is sold out.
Prophet Magaya claimed he had a joint venture with an Indian company. He said the drug is a conconction of a Zimbabwean herb and a Mozambican.
Magaya announced after his church service in Harare that the drug was tested and is a supplement that could boost immunity and cure HIV.
“I have tested Aguma fully on human beings and in 14 days they have been cured,” Magaya said.
He said they had registered Aguma as a supplement and have also spoken to the Government, which he says will have the final say when it makes its own tests on the herbal medicine.
“When I approached the Government, their response made me feel that they were ready to support us. Government will carry out its own research and is summoning a local research board to bring in people who are HIV-positive and take statistics on people taking Aguma,” he said.
“They will test it for any threats to health, its efficacy, side effects among many other things and have the final say. But we are happy with the research findings made in India,” he said.
He added, “I was offered $56 million by an American company for me to show them the Aguma plant, I turned them down.
Magaya told followers that he had asked God to lead him to “something that can help many. He showed me a tree, he showed me my counterparts in India. We have tested it and found out that it works.”