Bitter Kola is in the News again. This time its the war between the great African Bitter Kola and the United State of America Ebola Virus “Secret Serum”.

Shortly after the Ebola epidemic hit the West African Sub Region and especially after a case was reported in a Liberian Diplomat in Lagos, some folks showed up with claims of having done exploits in the field of pharmacologic and medical research on the cure or rather treatment of the Ebola virus.

Yes, some of these men dusted their old research notes, some as old as 17 years to lay claims on the efficacy of bitter Kola in the treatment of Ebola virus. Within minutes, the whole media in Nigeria and of course the social media was flooded with the information.

Every Dick, Harry and Tom suddenly because an expert in Ebola and Bitter kola. In all these, no single evidence exist on the near usefulness of bitter kola in the cure or treatment of the disease.

In nearby Sierra Leone, two American volunteer health workers contracted the Ebola virus and became ill. As a country that places high value on the lives of their citizens, the US Health department swung into action immediately.

Within days, an experimental medication, which for now is known as zMAPP by its developers was flown into Freetown. Briefly explained, zMAPP is antibody against the Ebola virus which was harvested from some species of monkey after the monkeys were infected with the virus.

Of course the monkey mounted immune response against the virus by way of developing some proteins known as immunoglobulins. These immunoglobulins were harvested and stored. Preliminary investigation shows that the antibodies work by preventing the virus from entering and infecting new cells thereby slowing the rate of disease.

The dramatic improvement in the condition of the Americans that were near death due to Ebola attest to the fact that the medication, though still experimental gives a glimmer of hope. That is the beauty of evidence based science. You do not need to grandstand or rush to the press with fictitious claim of breakthrough when indeed you have actually developed nothing.

The Bitter Kola Remedy Dance

It is obvious that eating a truck load of bitter Kola does not in any way inhibit the Ebola virus. There is no need dusting some old chemistry notes just to appear relevant. We must not always dance naked in the market place.

Deceiving the public with false claims will only make people vulnerable and aid spreading of the disease. We had this issue with HIV which led to the death of a lot of people. This ugly development is rearing its ugly head again with Ebola.

Unfortunately we cannot play that kind of game with Ebola because of its fatality. HIV may play around with you but certainly not Ebola.

Where do we go from here? The answer is in funding quality and purposeful research. We may have the personnel but without funding and provision of modern research tools and facilities, we shall continue to crawl while the developed world will be flying. A word is sufficient for the wise!

Written by: Ikechi Gbenimacho (a Physician and Public Health Expert.) Follow him on Twitter

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