Media Contact: Kelley Jackson
INDIGENOUS AFRICAN PLANT-BASED EXTRACTS PROVIDE
PROMISING PRELIMINARY RESULTS AGAINST EBOLA VIRUS
U.S. Army Laboratory Results Demonstrate Preliminary Success Against Ebola Infected
May 6, 2015 (Atlanta, GA) – The Andrew J. Young Foundation in partnership with Morehouse School of Medicine and PROMETRA International will hold a press conference to announce the groundbreaking preliminary lab results of indigenous African plant-based extracts against the Ebola virus on Wednesday, May 13, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. in Studio C of the Georgia Public Broadcasting building located at 260 14th Street, NW in Atlanta, Georgia 30318. www.AfricasAnswer.com
Testing of these herbal extracts against live Ebola virus by the U.S. Army Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) in Fort Detrick, Maryland in their BSL-4 laboratory found that it “demonstrated an ability to inhibit infection of culture cells with an authentic Ebola/Zaire virus.”
Ambassador Andrew Young, chair, Andrew J. Young Foundation, and Dr. Virginia Floyd, associate professor, Morehouse School of Medicine and board member of the Foundation, facilitated the delivery of medicinal herbal products (used by African traditional healers in Senegal) provided by Dr. Erick V. A. Gbodossou of PROMETRA International, an NGO in Dakar, Senegal, to Morehouse School of Medicine for extraction.
An extract of these plant compounds were then provided to the USAMRIID for testing against live Ebola virus in their BSL-4 laboratory, one of only 6 labs in the country designated to contain an infectious disease such as the Ebola virus.
The Foundation’s involvement with finding a solution to the Ebola crisis was born out of a desire “to find an African solution to an African problem,” stated Ambassador Young, after attending the historic US- Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, DC in August 2014. Convened by President Barack Obama and attended by Pan-African leaders to discuss trade, investment and economic opportunities across the continent, the Ebola epidemic ravaging West Africa dominated the discussion.
The Foundation was already involved in humanitarian efforts in Africa through its partnership with PROMETRA, an organization that promotes the use of quality traditional medicine and indigenous science into traditional systems of healthcare to improve the health and wellbeing across the globe. PROMETRA also provides nutrition products to communities in need.
Following the Summit, Ambassador Young, Dr. Gbodossou and Dr. Floyd sought assistance from the Task Force on Global Health to identify a BSL-4 laboratory in which to conduct scientific research of an indigenous African plant-based product (supplied by PROMETRA and used by African traditional healers for generations) on live Ebola cells.
They were referred to the USAMRIID where the product was tested in-vitro on live Ebola cells and the results were documented in a letter from Dr. Sina Bavari, chief scientific officer, USAMRIID, addressed to Dr. Erick Gbodossou and Dr. Michael Powell, associate professor, Microbiology, Biochemistry, and Immunology, and director, Translational Technologies Program, Morehouse Medical School.
In the letter, Dr. Bavari states, “Specifically, all extracts showed similar anti-EBOV activity with EC50 around 100-200 ug/ml depending on cell type. As these results are the first testing, and due to the multi-component and undefined composition of the extracts, more definitive results are yet to be determined and needed to move the research forward. We recommend that the next critical steps included the purification and fractionation of the extracts, in search of individual components responsible for anti-viral activity.
“This type of research falls within the mission of USAMRIID and we look forward to continuing our partnership, as we seek to find solutions to the (sic) Ebola and other emerging infectious diseases. We believe Morehouse School of Medicine and PROMETRA international can play an important role in addressing the Ebola virus disease and possibly other health problems in Africa,” he concluded.
This research is a result of the continuing partnership between Morehouse School of Medicine, the Andrew J. Young Foundation and PROMETRA International with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in place since 2010. This partnership was created to improve the health and wellbeing of Africa and the Diaspora. Joint activities are conducted in the areas of education, scientific research, advocacy, treatment and community service.
"Viruses have been in Africa for centuries. Traditional medicine has been used to treat illnesses throughout Africa and I was just curious. I thought we should be open to anything that has worked in Africa. I was not surprised when the labs at Fort Detrick came up with the results that they did," said Ambassador Young.
“For four decades, PROMETRA International has maintained close working relationships with healers throughout the continent of Africa, stated Dr. Gbodossou. “We conduct research and promote traditional knowledge and its use to improve humanity. At PROMETRA, our work is to look for answers, and we know who to ask. Our ancestors did not kill disease, they removed it. The difference is considerable and important.
“If the modern scientific world is willing to look, see and face the facts, we will be able to bring a serious change to the articulation of research hypotheses and healing,” he said.
A brief Q&A will follow the press conference, which will then be immediately followed by a roundtable discussion on these findings and African traditional medicine.
The roundtable, titled Africa’s Answer to Ebola: Proving A Plant-based Path to Treatment from African Traditional Healers, will be live-streamed via www.AfricasAnswer.com. Participants will include Ambassador Young. Dr. Gbodossou, Dr. Virginia Floyd, and other stakeholders in the medical community and Ebola.
Viewers are invited to share the conversation on social media using the hashtag #AfricasAnswer2Ebola.
About the Andrew J. Young Foundation (www.andrewjyoungfoundation.org)
The Andrew J. Young Foundation develops, implements and maintains international programs that are structured to aid the startup and capacity of public-private partnerships on health, nutrition, education, economic growth and democracy. With Ambassador Andrew Young as the lead project advocate, the Foundation also promotes more just and prosperous communities in the U.S. and globally by developing and supporting new generations of multiracial leadership; supporting efforts in four areas that reflect Andrew Young’s work as a pastor, activist, ambassador, and elected official -- Community and Faith-based Initiatives; Civil Rights and Civic Participation; International Humanitarian Initiatives; and Public Service.
PROMETRA International (www.prometra.org)
PROMETRA International was established in 1971, and is an international NGO headquartered in Dakar, Senegal, whose purpose is to preserve African traditional medicine, culture and indigenous science through research, education, advocacy and practice. It works to improve the health and wellbeing of global communities through the use of quality traditional medicine and indigenous science, and building bridges between modern and traditional systems of health care. PROMETRA International has twenty-six (26) chapters in Africa, Europe, the Caribbean and the USA. All chapters are officially recognized by their governments and maintain a national and regional partnership network that includes government ministries, civil society organizations and grass roots organizations. PROMETRA International conducts scientific research, hosts international conferences and cultural exchanges, and coordinates a diaspora wide network. PROMETRA International partners with academic institutions throughout Africa, USA, Asia and Europe. It is a grantee of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation, UNDP, European Union and other international funders.
Morehouse School of Medicine (www.msm.edu)
Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) located in Atlanta, Georgia is among the nation’s leading educators of primary care physicians and was recently recognized as the top institution among U.S. medical schools for fulfilling its social mission. Faculty and alumni are noted in their fields for excellence in teaching, research, and public policy. The School is accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Morehouse School of Medicine mission is to exist to improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities; increase the diversity of the health professional and scientific workforce; and address primary health care needs through programs in education, research, and service, with emphasis on people of color. Morehouse School of Medicine awards the Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Sciences (Ph.D.), Master of Public Health (M.P.H.), Master of Science in Clinical Research (M.S.C.R.), Master of Science in Biomedical Research (M.S.B.R.), and the Master of Science in Biomedical Technology (M.S.B.T.) degrees and trains community health workers. The Department of Microbiology, Biochemistry, and Immunology conducts the HIV/AIDS and Ebola research activities and Dr. Michael Powell is lead researcher.
U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) (www.usamriid.army.mil/)
Since 1969, USAMRIID has served as the Department of Defense's (DoD) lead laboratory for medical biological defense research. While our core mission is to protect the warfighter from biological threats, we also investigate disease outbreaks and threats to public health. Research conducted at USAMRIID leads to medical solutions—therapeutics, vaccines, diagnostics, and information—that benefit both military personnel and civilians. USAMRIID is a subordinate laboratory of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command.