China, Thailand to Distribute Herbal Drug to Treat HIV-Positive People
January 11, 2006
Thailand and China plan to distribute an herbal drug that researchers say can boost the immune systems of HIV-positive people and help manage the virus, health officials said on Wednesday in Thailand, AFX/Forbes reports. The drug, called SH Instant, combines three medicinal herbs from China and two from Thailand and was developed as part of a six-year, $2 million project, according to the Medical Science Department of Thailand's Ministry of Public Health (AFX/Forbes, 1/11). China's Department of Medical Services Deputy Director Pongphan Wongmanee said that China and Thailand worked together to test the efficacy of the herbal drug (Thai News Service, 1/11). In a study of 60 patients, the 40 people who took the drug "fared better in fighting the virus than the 20 who did not" take the drug, AFX/Forbes reports (AFX/Forbes, 1/11). SH Instant was shown to reduce the participant's viral load by 43% but does not eliminate the need for standard antiretroviral drugs, according to the Thai News Service. In initial trials, patients experienced no adverse side effects to SH Instant. The drug currently is in the third phase of testing. China's Ministry of Public Health said it plans to distribute SH Instant within the next three months. The drugs will be produced in China, but Thailand is negotiating an agreement to sell the drug in Thailand before it is available in other countries, Pongphan said (Thai News Service, 1/11).
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