WHO Experts Await Armenicum Test Restults

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)– World Health Organization experts will issue their findings on Armenicum–a preparation against AIDS developed in Armenia–after receiving relevant information–the head of the WHO bureau in Armenia–Hrair Aslanian–told Noyan Tapan. Aslanian stressed that there are several effective medicines (protease inhibitors) which improve the condition of AIDS patients. Among them are such preparations as "Sancvinavir"–"Nevirapin" and others. These medicines were recommended by the World AIDS Association for wide use throughout the world. Consequently–in order to provide scientific conclusions about Armenicum–it is necessary to obtain the results from recently performed clinical tests.

The Ministry of Health Care reported that four more AIDS patients arrived last Friday in Armenia from Russia.

The ministry also said that blood taken from the new patients will be tested in Russia–whereas blood taken from them in Armenia will be sent to another country. Thus–several independent laboratories will control the treatment process. Currently–all four patients are undergoing tests at the AIDS Center in Yerevan.

Thirty-one people suffering from AIDS are undergoing treatment in Yerevan using the "Armenicum" medicine developed by Armenian scientists–Armenian Health Minister Haik Nikoghosian said Tuesday.

He said that the majority of patients were Russian citizens. "We have no more clinical material in Armenia."

The minister added that four more patients had arrived in Armenian recently. According to Nikoghosian–they had arrived under an agreement reached in mid-March during a visit to Armenia by regional director of the international clinical center Timothy Meed.

Under the agreemen’s reached–these patients’ blood is tested by other foreign centers prior to their arrival in Yerevan.

The newly-arrived AIDS patients are undergoing tests in Armenia. Treatment with Armenicum will begin after the tests. Both Armenian and foreign experts will exercise control over the treatment process.

Nikoghosian added that a closed-type joint-stock company–Armenicum–had been set up to deal with all issues and problems relevant to the Armenicum drug.

The minister stressed that all foreign citizens wishing to undergo treatment with Armenicum in Yerevan arrived in the republic via diplomatic channel; under the Armenian law "On AIDS" passed by parliament in 1995–HIV-infected foreigners arriving in Armenia are subject to deportation. The Armenian Health Ministry is drafting a package of amendmen’s to the law.

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