A charismatic preacher followed by millions around the world claimed he had found the elusive cure for HIV on Sunday.
Walter Magaya, known to followers as a prophet of God, told a congregation of his Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries that he had made the discovery two years ago – but had waited “because I wanted it to be chemically proven, scientifically proven”.
“God has given me a revelation, we tested it and it’s perfect. God showed me a certain tree and certain people. We have found the cure for HIV and Aids,” Magaya announced to an ecstatic church.
The service was watched by millions on TV and the internet.
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a lentivirus that over time causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). It was first clinically observed in 1981 in the United States. The initial cases were a cluster of injection drug users and gay men with no known cause of impaired immunity who showed symptoms of pneumonia, a rare opportunistic infection that was known to occur in people with very compromised immune systems.
According to the World Health Organisation, 70 million people have been infected with the HIV virus and about 35 million people have died of HIV. Globally, 36.9 million people were living with HIV at the end of 2017.
A cure for HIV has never been found, although researchers have managed to manufacture medicines to keep the disease suppressed and stop it from developing into full-blown AIDS.
Magaya said he was prepared for the Zimbabwe government, through the Health Ministry, to scientifically test his HIV cure.
The cure, he announced, was developed from a plant called Aguma which is found in Zimbabwe. This was mixed with a different herb from Mozambique.
With the help of Indian partners, with whom he has formed a company, Aretha Medical, Magaya said they had developed the cure to be administered on patients in the form of tablets and capsules. The medicine is kept in powder form.
“Right now, my team is working on dosages for the different strains of HIV,” he said.
Following the church service, Magaya addressed a news conference where he gave more information on his find.
“The company name is called Aretha, which means ‘vicious’. Our medicine is vicious, our discovery is vicious,” he said.
“It has been my dream to help believers and non-believers. I have been hiding this secret after I found it two years ago because I wanted it to be chemically proven, scientifically proven.
“My main concern was finding a cure for HIV and cancer. Components of our plant starves cancer cells. Chemicals in Aguma are enough to make your immune system strong so that it can fight any foreign invasion.
“I know the world will dismiss it, but they will eventually agree. I’ve tested it fully on human beings and a lot of these human beings have gone negative. At this stage, we’re 100 percent organic because we find that there’s no side effect. We’re mixing plants from here in Zimbabwe another one from Mozambique.
“The government is free to summon our own research board and test this medicine for themselves. As for me, I’ve my own testimonies but people will listen to a minister rather than a mere prophet.”
Magaya said they had made effort to get legal protection for their find.
“I was offered $56 million by an American company for me to point them to the tree. We are the first people to discover this plant, so we have intellectual rights. This plant is not in any botanic records,” he claimed.
HIV was “an African problem which was waiting for an African solution”, he said. Two thirds of the world’s HIV positive people are in Africa.
The preacher said he had secured a clinical licence and was building a laboratory, “which could be the biggest in Africa.”
He intends to donate 29,000 tablets to people living with HIV in Hurungwe district, his birth place.