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Nigerian scientists discover baseline test for HIV/AIDS

A team of Nigerian scientists led by Dauda Oladepo of the International Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) has discovered CD4 Lymphocyte baseline for testing HIV/AIDS patients in Nigeria, the Vanguard newspaper reported on Tuesday.

CD4 is used for monitoring and enrolling HIV patients for retroviral therapy, but before the discovery, scientists had argued that the CD4 baseline currently in use since the outbreak of HIV infection worldwide is meant for the white and not the black.

Leading his team to visit Nigeria's Minister of Health Babatunde Oshotimehi in Abuja on Monday, Oladepo said CD4 Lymphocyte baseline is very vital in monitoring and managing the disease progression of HIV infected people.

He said it is imperative to determine local baseline CD4 count and also provide national data for reference values for the nation. According to him, Nigeria did not have a National CD4 counts baseline which could be used in enrolling HIV patients and other clinical decisions.

"Before now, CD4 counts are very important for every nation since all races have their different genetic makeup," he added.

Oladepo disclosed that proposal for research into CD production in Nigeria started in 2006, adding that the fund was approved and released by the Federal Ministry of Health's national HIV/AIDS andSTI control program (NASCP) through the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Responding, Nigeria's minister for health, Oshotimehin commended the efforts of the scientists and Director-General of NIPRID Uford Inyang for his support and creating enabling environment for the study.

He acknowledged the support of the NACA, and NASCP for the funding of the project through the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The minister challenged all persons, organizations and stakeholders to renew their commitment to the cause of HIV/AIDS and recommended that the result of the study should be used as a basis for making decisions in clinical practice in Nigeria.

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