In 2001, an announcement shook the scientific community in Cameroon. Pr. Victor Anomah Ngu celebrated having created an experimental vaccine against HIV/AIDS, named Vanhivax... This was not officially the case. At the time, the Cameroonian government trusted in the results of Pr. Anomah Ngu’s research (who also happened to be a former Minister of Health between 1984 and 1988). But this product has not yet been approved by the national and international scientific community for mass use.
In a communiqué published in January 2014 in the pro-government daily Cameroun Tribune, the then-Minister of Health, Urbain Olanguena Awono, (presently incarcerated for misappropriation of public funds) warned the general public. “At the current stage of the research, its use is only for immunocompetent seropositive subjects, which is to say those who do not yet show signs of the disease”, the former minister notified before adding that in these conditions, the government urges the population not to ease off on the efforts started as part of the national policy in the fight against HIV/AIDS whether in regards to following prevention measures, or monitoring the treatments for patients who require it.
On the shelf
In other words, anti-retroviral medicines are still on the agenda. A month ago, the hope for a vaccine again flared through Pr. Alexis Ndjolo, Director of the International Reference Centre Chantal Biya (CIRCB). On 24 November live on CRTB, he said boldly: “We will soon come up with a vaccine against this HIV/AIDS pandemic”. Curiously, Vanhivax has been forgotten, especially since its creator passed away in 2011. In 2003, he received the “Leon Sullivan Achievement Award” prize, for his invention. An acknowledgement which obviously did not speed up the process to finalise Vanhivax.
Monique Ngo Mayag