Study Explores Plant Extract’s Potential Effect on HIV-Treatment Drug Nevirapine
Honours research conducted by UKZN student Mr Ugochukwu Offor on rats has shown that adjuvant treatment with the antioxidant plant extract, ‘kolaviron’, reduces the poisonous effect of nevirapine on the animal model.
Supervised by Senior Lecturer in Clinical Anatomy, Dr Onyemaechi Azu, Offor’s study not only sheds light on the possible reparative intervention of kolaviron against the effect of nevirapine on the animal model, it also promotes indigenous knowledge of herbal remedies as adjuvants in ARV therapy.
The most common side effects of nevirapine on patients include: rashes, nausea, fatigue, headaches, vomiting, diarrhoea, and abdominal and muscle pains.
Conducted at one of the largest laboratory animal facilities in Southern Africa, UKZN’s Biomedical Resources Unit, and presented at the College of Health Sciences Research Symposium 2014, Offor’s study was titled: “Kolaviron Ameliorates Nevirapine-Induced Renal Histoarchitectural Damage”.
The study found that nevirapine caused histoarchitectural damage in the glomerular apparatus with resultant increase in kidney/body weight ratio.
Results also indicated that serum antioxidant enzymes – SOD and CAT – were also significantly elevated.
‘My passion for this research is around seeing that the indigenous utilisation of African plant-based adjuvants are scientifically validated, especially in view of the increasing usage by individuals, and the public in this case, of kolaviron, an extract from the Garcinia kola seed,’ said Offor.
‘Again, in the light of the paucity of data concerning the potential attenuating influence of kolaviron in any antiretroviral treatment in view of the side effects of nevirapine, the study was carried out to examine the histomorphology of the kidney that is treated with nevirapine and kolaviron since the kidney plays a crucial role in the excretion of drugs.’
Offor joined UKZN after completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Anatomy at the University of Port Harcourt in Nigeria.
He said: ‘UKZN is seen as a citadel for high academic and research excellence promoting renaissance in Africa scholarship and research.’
Offor said it was important to overcome the spirit of fear when chasing one’s dreams. He was grateful for the support he received from his colleagues in the School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences’ Morphology and Andrology Group (MAG).