In what could turn out to be the biggest medical breakthrough in the 21st century, a 46-year-old Ghanaian, Mr Samuel Ato Duncan, has developed a drug he says has the potential to treat HIV/AIDS and other blood related diseases.
HIV/AIDS has ravaged mankind for decades, killing 30 million people globally (W.H.O, 2009) and leaving in its wake orphans, widows, widowers and the shattered dreams of many families.
Man has gone to the moon, used satellites and fibre optic cables to facilitate global communications and connectivity and conducted major organ transplants, but the cure for AIDS has eluded us, despite decades of aggressive research.
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But all this is about to change, says Mr Duncan, a researcher, social worker and the Founder of the Centre of Awareness (COF), a non-governmental organisation in Cape Coast.
Speaking to The Mirror in Accra on Tuesday, Mr Duncan stressed that the drug, known simply as COA – an acronym for the ‘Centre of Awareness’ – had been tested for efficacy by the Centre for Scientific Research into Plant Medicine at Akuapem Mampong and the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) at Legon in Accra.
He said NMIMR had determined that the COA Drug had “a high level of effectiveness against HIV.”
To back his claim, Mr Duncan showed The Mirror an October 5, 2012 report by NMIMR signed by Dr Jacob S. Barnor, Senior Research Fellow, and Prof. Kwadwo Koram, Director of NMIMR, which concluded after an “in vitro assay” that the COA Drug had a high level of effectiveness against HIV.
The Mirror confirmed Mr Duncan’s evidential report upon a follow-up at the institute.
According to the report, “The tested COA Drug had between 70-80 per cent and 1.0-2.0 log reduction of the stock virus, which is a significant level of inhibitory activity against the test virus (wild HIV-1 isolate).”
Throwing light on the report, Mr Duncan explained that in an “in vitro assay” conducted by NMIMR, COA Drugs killed 80 per cent of HIV particles in a test tube within eight hours.
“If a single administration of COA Drug was able to kill 80 per cent of HIV particles in a test tube, it can kill 100 per cent of HIV particles within the body when administered over a period of time,” he added excitedly.
According to him, GH¢650,000 had been expended since 2006 on the development on the drug, which he says can also cure chronic diseases such as “diabetes, hypertension, mild/early stroke and hepatitis B.”
He continued: “COA drugs, once injected into the body, can eliminate all the stubborn viruses within the body within three weeks. There have been several testimonies. We've treated and cured mild stroke, leukemia and Hepatitis B completely. We've also cured people with cancer.”
“The drug kills the viruses in the body until eventually there is no virus.” he said.
A June 29, 2011 report by the Centre for Scientific Research into Plant Medicine also indicated that phytochemical, pharmacological, toxicological and microbiological analyses were conducted on COA Drug with positive results. The report was signed by Mr Osafo-Mensah, then the Acting Deputy Director of the Centre.
The Director of the Centre, Prof. Dominic Edoh, told The Mirror on phone that COA Drug was tested for diabetes on animals and found to be effective.
Mr Duncan said COA began the actual search for an HIV cure sometime in 2005 in Cape Coast in the Central Region, where it is based.
The decision to look for HIV & AIDS cure, he said, came when the HIV & AIDS patients COA was caring for started dying and the foundation had to take care of their (victims’) dependents, despite their limited resources.
“We realised that the HIV/AIDS disease is deadly and that if care is not taken it can wipe us all from the surface of the earth,” he said.
COA then embarked on what he called “Divine Research" in their search of a cure for HIV.
A devout Christian and a member of the Methodist Church, Mr Duncan said the pursuit of the divine research entailed fasting and praying for a number of days.
“Charles Amoako, a member of COA Board, Nana Abeka and myself prayed and fasted for five days at Wusorkrom Abora-Asebu in the Kwamankesi District in the Central Region.
“It was revealed to us that the solution could be found in plants.
“Further divine research showed that apart from killing the AIDS virus, the herbs can also treat a number of sicknesses which the world has still found no cure for,” he said.
According to Mr Duncan, COA proceeded after the fasting and prayer to look for the herbs that had been revealed to them.
He said when the herbs were found, COA Drug was developed out of it, based on a certain formula that was also revealed to them.
The next step, Mr Duncan said, involved informing the Ghana AIDs Commission about the discovery of “a drug that could kill HIV.”
“The then Director General of the Commission, Professor Sakyi Amoah, invited me for a meeting and requested for a sample. A lecturer at the Chemistry Department of the University of Cape Coast, Henry Insadoo, produced a sample from the Chemistry Laboratory of the university,” he explained.
“To every problem there is a solution. Where a problem cannot be solved, it means that the knowledge out of which the solution could be drawn has not yet been acquired,” he added.
Bigger than Jubilee Oil Fields
Mr Duncan told The Mirror that the next step for COA Drug was to get it approved by the Foods and Drugs Board (FDB) – a process he said was ongoing – and to also start producing it on a large scale.
That, he said, would entail setting up a manufacturing plant and employing people.
Moreover, he said, further research was needed to make the drug an “injectable”, so that it could treat diseases faster.
He said between two to 10 million dollars would be required to implement the aforementioned projects.
Mr Duncan expressed worry that the support required to make COA Drug available on a national and ultimately international scale had failed to arrive.
While declining to mention names, he disclosed that some organisations and individuals were trying to “suppress” the drug.
“I don't know why exactly some institutions and persons want to suppress a drug that can cure HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B and other forms of liver disorders, cancers, mild and early stroke,” he said, adding, “even medical doctors and scientists are using COA drugs to treat themselves.”
Mr Duncan emphasised that mass production of COA Drug on a local and international scale had the potential to bring bigger benefits to Ghana than the Jubilee oil fields.
“I’m telling you that if we are able to put things down well, COA Drug will benefit us even more than the oil find.”
He called on the Government of Ghana and the World Health Organisation to come to the aid of COA and help produce COA Drug on a large scale.
“The world needs this drug,” he stressed.
Efforts to get the Ghana AIDS Commission to comment on the COA Drug turned futile as executives of the commission were said to have "gone for a management meeting outside Accra."
But Dr Nii Acquaye Addo, the Executive Director of National AIDS Control Programme (NACP), told The Mirror that further research needed to be done outside the laboratory to prove that COA Drug was indeed potent against HIV.
Mr Addo said the FDB would have to certify and approve the COA Drug before it could even be considered for medical use.
His views were reechoed by the Director of NMIMR, Professor Kwadwo A. Koram, who noted that further research was needed to determine whether COA Drug would have the same effect it had on HIV in an “in vitro assay” when used in humans.
He said the process of developing CAO Drug from this stage of discovery to a time it is available for treating patients would be arduous and would take several years.
Prof Koram said that was consistent with the national drug development process.
“A host of things ought to be done before we can say we have a HIV & AIDS cure,” he emphasised.
‘Master of the Divine Law and Metaphysics’
Mr Duncan conceded that further research needed to be done to make COA Drug more effective. “There is no limit to research. It’s a continuous process,” he said, adding: “Since it’s a new drug, it will have a whole lot of things that will benefit humans.”
He said further development of CAO would require funds, and reiterated his call for government and WHO support.
Mr Duncan says he has no medical background, preferring to call himself a “Master of the Divine Law and Metaphysics.”
He said the knowledge he possessed, which has led to the discovery of COA Drug, was not derived from a classroom, but from God.
He told The Mirror that after 40 days of fasting and prayer on a hilltop at Adanse Praso in the Ashanti Region in 1989, God blessed him with knowledge to solve some of the world’s greatest problems.
“…I saw heaven open and the knowledge I had requested fell on me in the form of dew. The Spirit of God became my teacher and began taking me through life,” he said.
Mr Duncan was born in Elimina in the Central Region. He attended Kibi D/A Primary School in the Eastern Region before proceeding to the Takoradi Secondary School and the Ghana National College in Cape Coast.
He is married to Docia Obosu and they have five children: Princess, Vivian, Isabella, Prince and Angela.
Story by Samuel K. Obour