varichem.jpgThe Global Science and Technology database will not be complete without the mention of a local pharmaceutical company, Varichem which has pioneered the manufacturing of Anti- Retroviral Drugs in Zimbabwe.

 

In the 1980s through to the 1990s, the mention of the name AIDS would make many hearts shudder. The disease which was first detected in the US but later spread to all parts of the world has hit most Sub-Saharan Africa killing millions and leaving other millions suffering.

 

However, scientific breakthroughs have in a way demystified this scourge through anti-retroviral drugs which prolong life. ARVs have greatly improved life expectancy in Sub-Saharan Africa, Zimbabwe included.

 

 At first the bulk of these life prolonging drugs were imported from overseas but the country can now produce some of the drugs. 

 
arvs.jpgExplaining the process of the anti-AIDS drugs manufacture, production pharmacist at a plant in Harare, Admire Nyika said the ARV’s are manufactured in an ultra hygiene conscious environment. He said the company manufactures several types of ARV’s that come as combination and single entity products.

 

The drugs go through several processes that involve ingredient weighing, mixing or granulation, drying, blending, compression and finally packaging.

 

Production manager Phillip Mhiko says each process is very important to balance the end drug which essentially determines the patients’ well-being.

 

He explained that the Varichem facility has gone through World Health Organisation prequalification requirements and is certified as sole ARV manufacturer in Zimbabwe and one of only three in Africa.

 

The laboratory services manned on the plant and managed by the chief chemist Elliot Chigumbu and microbiologist Ruby Zondo are involved in day to day product improvement.

With the Zimbabwean company pioneering the fight against HIV and AIDS and breaking technological barriers in research and development, optimism has crept back into the nation.

 

The mention of AIDS is no longer as scary as it was two decades ago, but of course this can not be any substitute for prevention.