Magaya in court over HIV 'cure'

Zimbabwe pastor retracts HIV-cure claim. /AGENCIES

Zimbabwe pastor retracts HIV-cure claim. /AGENCIES

A court has heard of a desperate scramble to destroy evidence before police swooped on Walter Magaya's office in Harare to seize unlicenced medicines he meant to sell as an HIV cure.

"Just before the search, accused persons destroyed some of the exhibits by flashing the Aretha in the office toilets and burning the containers which were however recovered half burnt", said the state.

There is no known cure for HIV/AIDS which has killed millions of people, a large majority of them in Africa.

Magaya was remanded out of custody to November 26. The court heard that the preacher had made further claims on the website of his Indian partners, Aretha Medical - where it was recorded that the two parties were together the manufacturers of Aguma.

UNDER-FIRE preacher Walter Magaya has issued an apology for "rushed" claims he had discovered a cure for HIV/Aids, telling a joint media briefing with the Health Ministry Thursday that he made the announcement out of "excitement". Verifications had subsequently been sought through the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe, which revealed that Aguma was not a registered medicine or drug in the country.

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"I carry an apology to them and the public".

"Relevant authorities are urgently looking into the claims". Having carried the research outside the country (in India), I went on to announce the results unprocedurally.

"The ministry strongly urges all clients on treatment for HIV and Aids to continue on their prescribed medication. I apologise once again", Magaya said at the news conference also attended by Deputy Minister Dr John Mangwiro.

In a letter to Magaya, ZADHR chairperson Brighton Chizhande told the cleric that his actions are in contravention of the Medicines and Allied Substance Act (Section15:03) and Part 3, Section 32 of the Public Health Act.

In a statement, World Health Organization representative to Zimbabwe Alex Gasasira said to date, there is no known and proven cure for HIV infection, but effective treatment exists to manage the infection through antiretroviral therapy and drugs.

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