Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Who wants to take this concoction?

From the perspective of a medical researcher/practitioner, the development of a new drug takes at least a decade of intense research and trials. Each step of the journey would be carefully documented, each mistake taken note of (there MUST be mistakes), and each effect (including long term side effects) would be noted.

This is an unemotional, unbiased and unsentimental job. It is a job geared towards saving human lives, and there can be no short-cuts when conducting it, none whatsoever. So it becomes quite funny when someone announces a "cure" for HIV/AIDS just two years after "beginning research" into this "cure". There are four stages of drug development, we have not seen any results regarding animal testing, we have not seen any results regarding clinical trials, and I have searched Google, with no success in finding a single peer-reviewed entry in a medical journal. Perhaps that is the reason why the authorities at the University of Benin chose to speak with journalists about their "discovery" rather than make the announcement at a scientific forum. You see, in a scientific forum, questions would be asked which the obviously uninformed journalists failed to think of. Questions such as "what is the effect of your drug on viral load?", "what are the patients' CD4 counts before and after drug administration?", "sero-conversion, how does that happen?" The only thing vaguely resembling a scientific term in the entire treatise was a statement about body weight. But then again, Magic Johnson has been HIV-positive for almost 2 decades and has actually gained weight in that period.

Then to think that the proposed name of the "drug" is DE CONCOTION?

A concoction of the alcoholic sort is very likely what either one or both of Timpriye Sylva and Seriake Dickson have had in this saga over the sum of
N4,451 allegedly left in the Bayelsa state coffers by Sylva when he hit the emergency exit button at Government House, Yenagoa about a year ago. "Bayelsa State has never had it so bad. Bayelsa is mourning the Dickson disaster," wept Sylva's parrot, Doifie Ola, while forgetting to tell us exactly how much his boss left in the state's coffers. We are trying to locate the state's accountant for that information, but it appears that he needs Senate approval.

You see, Senate approval is needed nowadays in this country before one can even take a dump. Thus it was that a Senate etibo has promised that the NNPC's admittedly foolish action of borrowing from Peter to pay Paul would be investigated by the upper legislative house. Like they have nothing better to do. Well, they don't, it's not holiday time yet. But it may just behove one to point out that the Decree establishing the NNPC on Fool's Day, thirty-six years ago now did not mandate the corporation to report to the Senate.

I would suggest that the Senate while trying to perform its oversight duties should once in a while learn to look into a mirror. Yesterday, former President, Olu Obasanjo told CNN that the current President's approach to handling the Boko Haram brouhaha is quite faulty. Honestly, like in many statements he has made since he unwillingly obeyed the Constitution and shuffled out of office, I agree with Baba on this one. However, I must point out that not all of it is Jona's fault. Sometimes the Senate offers a form of protection to miscreants within its ranks, which is why a sitting Senator accused of backing a group which is committing treason, still sits in the Senate chambers. Any wonder why Nigeria risks implosion?

Bits and bobs

The collection of geriatrics at the top of the PDP have lent credence to the belief that as men grow older, they become less able to reach compromises. The PDP has failed to get a new shot-caller. Maybe Ahmadu Alli's wife should be called in to sort it all out.

Our Papa Eagles never learn their lessons. Three years after one of them promised us the World Cup trophy since it was on African soil, a former Super Eagle (yes, he was in the last generation of players that deserved to be called "Super") is telling us that the Eagles can rule the continent. They first have to get past Cameroon's new husband, Cape Verde. Follow Cape Verde 2-1 Nigeria on various twitter feeds from 9pm WAT.

The first storey building in Nigeria is a very interesting place. Like Nigeria it has no electricity. Like Nigeria, it harbours bats (think politicians and nocturnal meetings). Like Nigeria, the staircase leading upstairs is in disrepair (think our roads). Like Nigeria, it needs renovation.

1 comment:

coolx said...

Hello wordsmith, HIV-AIDS matter has too much politics that is hard to navigate. Get a hold on the movie called house of numbers for a documentary on it.

Peer-review journals this days are also wrought with all sorts of politics. In the past decades we have had quite a number of accepted doctored research and this has too with the fact that the big pharmaceutical companies sponsors a lot of this research. The "scientists" in Benin will hardly stand a chance even if their discovery were to hold water.

The way out maybe for the journals to take the path of opensource. I have read some scientists talking about it.

They could have atleast followed some of the procedures you wrote about but then again, we like to jump the gun in this clime.

So in a nutshell, research in this era depends on a lot of factors beyond the scientists. Now is must be extremely good to hold your own. It was easier when govt was funding a large chunk of it.