JOHANNESBURG - Some hope emerges in the global race for a COVID-19 vaccine, and here in South Africa an HIV/AIDS research scientist wants to begin clinical trials.
He believes the nutritional supplement selenium could help prevent infections and save lives.
Howard Armistead has been living with HIV for 36 years.
Armistead began conducting selenium experiments on himself while still using his anti-retroviral medication.
He says he found a moderate dose of selenium, together with his highly active ARV therapy, doubled the increase in his CD4 count compared to using ARVs alone.
"Most people do not get enough selenium in their diet and what viruses do is attack your selenium supply," Armistead said.
In 2014, Armistead worked with the Liberian Ministry of Health to show that adding selenium to the World Health Organization's standard treatment for Ebola patients increased their survival rate by over 57-percent.
"So that was one of the reasons why the country that had the worst outbreak of Ebola in the region got their outbreak under control faster than the other two countries," Armistead said.
But the South African Medical Association warns that the correct dosage of selenium must be used.
With a trial already underway in Nigeria, Armistead's Selenium Research Centre wants to begin clinical trials in South Africa to see if it can prevent COVID-19 infections.
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