Plant hope

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A common plant found in the Western Australian bush could hold the secret to a cure for Aids, the Western Australian Environment Minister, Colin Minson, said, AFP reports from Perth.

He said an extract from the plant, a member of the conospermum group and commonly known as smoke-bush, had already been shown to stop the spread of the HIV virus in test-tube trials.

The minister said that, while the discovery offered much promise, Aids sufferers should not be over- hopeful, because it would be between five and 10 years before a drug might be available.

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