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Secomet-V
Sep 17, 2007

Dear Robert, My brother was diagnosed with HIV early 2005. His latest tests (4 weeks ago)showed that he does not need to start antiretroviral treatment, i.e. CD > 500. I visit this website often and read the articles on fraudulent treatments. In Stellenbosch (South Africa) a product called Secomet-V is produced. It contains Secomet-V Concentrate-4ml (which I believe is a plant extract), Raspberry flavourant-0.03ml, Selenium-300ug and Glutamine257mg.Agents for this product are available countrywide. An article published around 2005 in a very popular local family magazine, suggested that this product (Secomet-V) has proved an increase in CD4 counts after usage for a period of time.My brothers CD4 was just over 400 in March this year and when tested 4 weeks ago, was over 500. I am however concerned that this product might be a "fraudelent" treatment as the label on the bottle reads "Helps in overcoming viral infections". Although I have to mention that the product is not marketed as an hiv or aids treatment. My mom has several labourers in her company of which at least 40% are hiv/aids infected.They are from poor backgrounds and families. Some labourers have been hospitalised and my mom would buy Secomet-V and have it sent to them. Many of them would then be on the treatment for only a couple of days and then return to work. On the one hand I am concerned about the product and on the other it does seem to do "something" good. Are you aware of this product at all? Their website is www.secomet.com Kind Regards, Sandra Johannesburg, South Africa PS: Thank you all so much for a very positive and needed contribution

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Sandra,

Following that article you saw in 2005, you might be interested to see what happened in 2006. (See below.)

This and similar products are indeed fraudulent. Effective life-sustaining HIV/AIDS therapies are now available and, despite Mbeki's immoral denial of their efficacy, they should be made available to all those in need. (See articles below.)

Dr. Bob

South Africa Product not registered

Professor suspended in storm over 'Aids herb' July 04, 2006 Edition 1

Melanie Gosling

The University of Cape Town has suspended a professor who apparently endorsed an unregistered herbal product, which may be toxic, as a treatment for Aids.

UCT has a royalty agreement with the company that makes and sells the product, Secomet V, which has not been tested on humans or registered with the Medicines Control Council (MCC).

The university said in a statement yesterday that it had suspended Girish Kotwal, head of virology in UCT's faculty of health sciences, for "possible misconduct", and had closed his laboratory at the Institute for Infectious Diseases and Molecular Medicine pending the outcome of the university's investigation.

The royalty agreement with Stellenbosch-based Secomet

SA (Pty) Ltd, producer of Secomet V, would be reviewed after the investigation, UCT said.

This comes after a report, carried in Nature magazine last week and headlined "Bad Medicine", that said "an untested, herbal product in South Africa is being touted as an effective Aids treatment with the full support of a local scientist".

Natasha Bolognesi, who wrote the Nature article, said Kotwal had tested Secomet V in UCT's laboratories on live cells.

It has been on sale for four years and estimates are that 1 500 people are taking it.

Bolognesi wrote that Secomet V had "found a champion in Girish Kotwal, scientist at the prestigious UCT", who said that the substance had anti-viral activity against HIV.

UCT professor in hot water over herbal 'Aids treatment'

Sunday Times (Johannesburg) - July 2, 2006 Nashira Davids, Ilse Fredericks and Philani Nombembe

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- THE University of Cape Town is investigating a professor who has been touting a herbal concoction as an Aids treatment. The university is taking disciplinary action against Professor Girish Kotwal, the principal investigator in its Medical Biotechnology Department.

This week international journal Nature exposed Kotwal's links to Secomet V, which is being sold by health shops and traditional healers. Nature alleged that:

* UCT received royalties from the sale of the tonic, which is branded as Ithemba Lesizwe (Hope of the Nation);

* Three people had died while using the tonic, two of whom were not taking antiretrovirals and had died from sudden liver failure at an Aids hospice in Stellenbosch; and

* As many as 30 HIV-positive people were using the tonic in an observational study in Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal.

The tonic is made by Stellenbosch company Secomet, and sold at a cost of about R200 for 500ml.

Secomet's website claims that plant acids in the product (made from red clover) make viruses, including HIV, "non-infectious" - and that with frequent use patients' viral loads will decrease.

UCT's Medical Biotechnology website says Secomet V is being researched by the university as a "potent" anti-viral.

But Secomet V has not been through clinical trials as required by the Medicines Control Council (MCC).

Wally Strickland, a Secomet spokesman, said clinical trials were expensive, but that the company had "raised sufficient funds to conduct the first phase of clinical trials".

Strickland denied that the company was selling the tonic illegally. He said the company had a receipt from the "Registry MCC" and was trading in line with MCC rules.

But Professor Peter Eagles, chairman of the MCC, said: "They can't actually trade, if they are making medicinal claims, until they get a reply from the MCC."

The product was developed by Stephen Leivers, a botanist, who started the company in 2002.

He and Kotwal researched the product together.

University spokesman Skye Grove said UCT's executive would meet Kotwal tomorrow and disciplinary action would begin on Thursday.

"We regard the allegations in [the Nature] report in a very serious light," she said. Kotwal's laboratories had been closed "until further notice".

* The Sunday Times was able to buy the pungent tonic from a Cape Town health shop yesterday for R224.

UCT professor in hot water over herbal 'Aids treatment'

Sunday Times (Johannesburg) - July 2, 2006 Nashira Davids, Ilse Fredericks and Philani Nombembe

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- THE University of Cape Town is investigating a professor who has been touting a herbal concoction as an Aids treatment. The university is taking disciplinary action against Professor Girish Kotwal, the principal investigator in its Medical Biotechnology Department.

This week international journal Nature exposed Kotwal's links to Secomet V, which is being sold by health shops and traditional healers. Nature alleged that:

* UCT received royalties from the sale of the tonic, which is branded as Ithemba Lesizwe (Hope of the Nation);

* Three people had died while using the tonic, two of whom were not taking antiretrovirals and had died from sudden liver failure at an Aids hospice in Stellenbosch; and

* As many as 30 HIV-positive people were using the tonic in an observational study in Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal.

The tonic is made by Stellenbosch company Secomet, and sold at a cost of about R200 for 500ml.

Secomet's website claims that plant acids in the product (made from red clover) make viruses, including HIV, "non-infectious" - and that with frequent use patients' viral loads will decrease.

UCT's Medical Biotechnology website says Secomet V is being researched by the university as a "potent" anti-viral.

But Secomet V has not been through clinical trials as required by the Medicines Control Council (MCC).

Wally Strickland, a Secomet spokesman, said clinical trials were expensive, but that the company had "raised sufficient funds to conduct the first phase of clinical trials".

Strickland denied that the company was selling the tonic illegally. He said the company had a receipt from the "Registry MCC" and was trading in line with MCC rules.

But Professor Peter Eagles, chairman of the MCC, said: "They can't actually trade, if they are making medicinal claims, until they get a reply from the MCC."

The product was developed by Stephen Leivers, a botanist, who started the company in 2002.

He and Kotwal researched the product together.

University spokesman Skye Grove said UCT's executive would meet Kotwal tomorrow and disciplinary action would begin on Thursday.

"We regard the allegations in [the Nature] report in a very serious light," she said. Kotwal's laboratories had been closed "until further notice".

* The Sunday Times was able to buy the pungent tonic from a Cape Town health shop yesterday for R224.


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