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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, Oct. 1) – The Samoa government has reportedly signed an agreement with an American university to allow scientific research on an indigenous tree that could hold a cure for AIDS.

According to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, researchers at the University of California at Berkeley believe the bark of the mamala tree contains a prostratin gene, that could help create an anti AIDS drug.

The university has signed an agreement with the Samoa Government to allow for samples of the tree bark to be analyzed in California.

Samoa’s Minister of Trade, Joseph Keil, says the agreement ensures Samoa will be the sole provider of the bark material in the event the research is successful.

"It’s a good agreement. It’ll be good for the country, its good for the people and its good the world if this thing does come through. And we have the rights to the research, and we in Samoa will have the rights to harvest the mamala tree with people in Samoa, as its a tropical tree and it probably grows in other Pacific countries."

Joseph Keil says its the second royalty agreement they’ve entered into regarding the tree’s prostratin, after a deal in 2001 with the AIDS Research Alliance.

October 4, 2004

Radio New Zealand International:


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