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Kemron is the name of a drug which was released in Kenya in 1991 and purported to be highly effective in removing the symptoms of AIDS. When put under international scrutiny, the treatment was seen to perform no better than placebo. The advent of the drug was notable for the government support and international attention it received.


In August 1990, Kenyan researcher Davy Koech, director of the Kenya Medical Research Institute, announced that when his HIV patients chewed wafers laced with tiny amounts of alpha interferon, most had greatly improved health and some cleared HIV from their blood entirely.[1] The alpha interferon, named "Kemron" for this use, was a drug used to treat cancer in much greater doses.[2]


After reviewing the experimental data, internationally recognized AIDS experts and health officials in the United States said that there was no merit to the claim.[2]

Kenyan president Daniel arap Moi announced that "Fifty AIDS victims have already been cured" and Koech dismissed the skepticism of Western scientists.[2] Barbara Justice, a physician in New York, claimed that 82% of AIDS patients at the Abundant Life clinic saw increases in their appetites and "other improvements."[3]

Neither the World Health Organization nor the NIH found evidence that Kemron performed better than placebo.[2]

Withdrawal of claim[edit]

Support of the drug proved to be an embarrassment for many of its supporters as the drug failed to cure patients under controlled conditions.

The University of Pretoria and the Government of South Africa ultimately were not able to support the claim of the drug's efficacy.[4]


  1. ^ Perlez, Jane (3 October 1990). "In Kenya, a New AIDS Drug Gets Mired in Politics and Financial Disputes". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d Hager, Mary (3 January 1993). "The Angry Politics Of Kemron". Newsweek. 121 (1): 43. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  3. ^ "AIDS Work at a Nation of Islam Clinic Is Questioned". The New York Times. 4 March 1994. Retrieved 17 May 2016. 
  4. ^ "South African AIDS 'Cure' Conjures Up Kemron Myth". 17 February 1997. Retrieved 3 November 2011.