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in-focus

New plant extract a boon for the HIV-positive


AN INNOVATIVE mixture of traditional plant extracts has proved to be a boon to the quality of life for HIV-positive people.

Medical tests have shown that the mixture, known as APCOcap, can raise the CD4-cell count in people who take anti-retroviral drugs. 
When infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), patients see a drop in the count of CD4 cells – a white-blood cell that plays a key role in protecting the immune system. 
Anti-retroviral drugs and APCOcap can help HIV-positive people maintain or boost their CD4 count, and with their immune system working well, patients can continue leading normal lives. 
“The good effects of the APCOcap is most evident in people who are HIV-positive as well as those who have tuberculosis,” a statement jointly released by the Asian Phytoceuticals Public Company Limited (APCO) and the National Innovation Agency (NIA) said yesterday. 
APCOcap is made of extracts from mangosteen, black sesame, soybean, guava and gotu kola, and the Food and Drug Administration has registered it as a supplementary food product. 
Dr Pichaet Wiriyachitra, who heads the Operation BIM research team, said they had been researching these extracts for more than three decades, but it was not until six years ago that the team began developing the extracts as a product for HIV-positive people. 
As many as 120 HIV-positive people, including children, have taken APCOcap and the results are being monitored under the APCO project. Among those being tested are 70 HIV-positive children at Baan Gerda, a facility in Lop Buri province. 
After taking APCOcap for one year, the CD4 cells of the children have risen by 67.34 per cent on average. 
“Everyone is better,” Pichaet told a press conference yesterday. 
APCOcap is now available both locally and overseas. A girl who has been living in one of these shelters said she had not fallen ill since taking APCOcap. 
NIA chairman Dr Somchet Thinaphong also expressed support for APCOcap at the press conference. 
 

Published : September 04, 2015

By : Visarut Sankham The Nation