YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–A new clinic opened in Yerevan within the framework of the Armenicum project. The ceremonial opening on December 10 was attended by the country’s top officials–including President Robert Kocharian–Prime Minister Aram Sargsyan–members of Parliament–government officials–representatives of embassies–international organizations–foreign delegations of doctors–leaders of Armenia’s political parties–medical scientists and media representatives.
The reconstruction of the complex with accommodations for 52 patients cost $2.4 million.
The godfather of the project–former Minister of National Security and current Chief of Presidential Staff and Secretary of the Security Council Serge Sargssian spoke about the strategic importance of the project: "It is beyond doubt that this facility has strategic significance. Let anyone who wants to accuse me of protectionism. Accusations should be listened to–but most importantly the cause must be furthered," he said–adding that if it were not serious–people would not have invested both "their hearts and funds" into this project.
According to the project manager–Levon Gevorgian–"there is not much to talk about yet–let the science speak for itself. Wait a couple of months and everything will become clear." Over a million people have so far applied for therapy at the clinic. The selection of those wishing to be treated with Armenicum is carried out on the basis of registration with Armenia’s embassies. The first patients will be received next week.
The creation of the medicine is very important to Armenia–National Democratic Union leader Vazgen Manoukian and Democratic Party leader Aram Sargsyan said. Sargsyan added that the drug might spark the revival of sciences in Armenia and the country’s technical advancement.
The Armenicum record was presented by National Drug Agency Director Emil Gabrielian–who emphasized that all 150 patients who have received Armenicum therapies–including patients with full-blown AIDS–have shown marked improvement.
Italian doctors expressed keen interest in the new drug. Professor Carbonaro–a leading specialist at an Italian clinic–said that good news inspire people with hope and we ought to let them make the best of this opportunity. Professor Borgia believes that any AIDS-fighting drug must belong to the world.
Armenia’s Health Minister Hayk Nikoghossian also expressed his opinion of the project. He said that although the Armenicum company is not a state-owned enterprise–there is also the government’s share in this project which is clear from the constituent documen’s. Among other founders are private organizations and Armenian individuals–the minister said without elaborating. He said that the chair of contagious diseases would still operate at the clinic to serve as a basis for clinical tests and thorough studies of other contagious diseases. The minister called the clinic a highly specialized elite establishment–promising that a state order for the treatment of AIDS patients would be introduced.
Speaking of Armenicum’s international recognition–Nikoghossian said that some results of the clinical tests would be officially announced soon.
An Armenicum center is expected to be opened in Kiev. Manager of the Armenicum project in Ukraine Igor Sahakov–who arrived in Yerevan to attend the opening of a new Armenicum clinic–said that repairs are being made at the center. After the drug is registered in Ukraine–a center for 30 patients will be opened by March 1–2000.
Sahakov said that the package submitted for the registration of the medicine in Ukraine lacked a number of documen’s–which the Armenian side promised to provide soon. He also said that leading AIDS specialists in Ukraine Alla Scherbinskaya and Galina Vovk have presented positive conclusions about Armenicum and that a joint project has been approved by Ukraine’s Public Health Minister Raisa Bogatyryova.