Chinese scientists are collecting special chemical compounds from the body of the cockroach which they hope can be used as a treatment for AIDS.
According to Li Shunan, dean of Pharmacology Department of Yunnan Medical College, the body of a cockroach has a suite of poisonous chemical elements, such as aflatoxin, and a special allergic material. Li and his group have extracted three chemical compounds from the body of a cockroach that are useful in combating diseases.
Li has verified in lab trials that a chemical compound consisting of an amino acid and polysaccharide is effective in killing the AIDS virus.
Lab experiments have shown that the compound has similar effectiveness as AZT, a widely used AIDS drug developed by American researchers, but has fewer side affects than AZT. However, clinical trials are expected to obtain a final result.
Li said that the cockroach idea sprang from practices of an ethnic minority in Yunnan Province who have used cockroaches to cure fester since ancient times.
Li has spent 20 years on the unprecedented research. He has also discovered that a certain chemical element extracted from the cockroach can cure heart disease.
(People's Daily 02/07/2001)