A gel developed in Kenya that can kill the AIDS-causing virus is undergoing a critical test phase involving at least 200 million Sh for it be spent in the last 11 years.
UniPron was patented in 2007 and not only works against HIV, but can also be used to protect against pregnancy by killing sperm and as a lubricant.
Research Institute (IPR), a public agency developed at the Institute of Primate, is now scheduled for definitive human clinical trials, said senior researcher Peter Gichuhi Mwethera.
"For the next and final phase, we have a strong team of scientists, clinicians, investors and marketers," says Dr. Mwethera, whose team was honored for innovation in London earlier this year.
Dr. Kavoo Linge, consultant gynecologist at Nairobi Hospital and clinical adviser to the project, said they are already seeking ethical and health-related regulatory approval for the proposed trials. "We are in discussions with several institutions that have the capacity and the knowledge required to carry out human clinical trials of the highest quality and to the highest ethical standards," he said, adding an effective anti-HIV microbicide to the market bring to.
A microbicide, according to the World Health Organization, is a substance used in the vagina or rectum to reduce the transmission of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
At present there is no such applicable microbicide. One way it could work is to maintain an acidic environment to protect against infection.
UniPron has lemon juice and other elements. Mwethera.
Works by lowering and stabilizing the environment to levels that are too acidic for HIV to survive, "he says.
The same acid levels do not allow the semen to survive, hence its ability as a contraceptive.
Dr. Mwethera said that they have published 25 articles in reviewed peer reviewed journals on UniPron, and have produced one graduate student and two master's students.
UniPron, winner of the Kenya National Innovation Agency 201
In 2015 UniPron won the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Award and in 2013 the Africa Union Innovation Award.
"This is a product with global potential," said Stuart Nicol, an investment adviser who advises at UniPron on behalf of the UK's Royal Academy of Engineering.
Mr. Nicol was recently in Nairobi to discuss the possibility of manufacturing UniPron in the UK for the American and European markets.
"While UniPron has great potential, it may be much easier to bring two of its by-products into the market right now, and they're already on the market for investors in Europe," Nicol told Sunday Nation.
Due to the enormous resources and the long time required for the successful development and commercialization of such a research product, Dr. Ing. Hastings Ozwara, director of IPR, had to think outside the box.
"Our biggest problem, as with thousands of other innovators in Kenya, was the shift of research from the laboratory to the marketplace – via the so-called Valley of Death," Dr. Ozwara
Subsequently, they decided to develop UniPron's lube potential separately because, unlike contraceptives or HIV-killing drugs, no lengthy clinical trials on humans were required.
In 2010, she collaborated with Universal Corporation, a local pharmaceutical manufacturer. Scientists have launched two products: Smugel Lube and Smuscan Ultrasound Gel.
"The ultimate price is UniPron as an anti-HIV microbicide and contraceptive," said Prof. Isaac Macharia. a senior medical consultant and project consultant.