Egyptian military backtracks on Aids cure claims
Devices purported to identify and cure hepatitis and HIV set to be put to use have been delayed citing ‘further testing’
Abdel Fatah el-Sisi was present at the announcement of the new device in February.
The Egyptian military appears to have rowed back on claims that it has invented a “miraculous” cure for Aids, HIV and hepatitis C, saying its devices will need a further six months of testing.
The equipment, which had been due to be introduced in army hospitals nationwide from next month, were widely panned by scientific experts. Critics include former president Mansour’s own adviser, who said they appeared to have “no scientific basis”.
In February, major general Ibrahim Abdulatty, had presented what he called a “miraculous scientific invention” to a high level audience. A device called C-Fast was described as being able to detect illnesses including Aids and hepatitis C. A related dialysis unit called “complete cure device” was also unveiled.
But at a press conference on Saturday, a military representative said the devices required further testing, due to the limited sample size in its original trial.
No members of the team responsible for the devices were reachable for comment on Saturday, and Abdulatty was conspicuously absent from the event.
His bombastic announcement in February had been largely met with an embarrassed silence from Egyptian medical professionals, and was widely criticised as a propaganda feint intended to burnish the army’s credentials as protectors of the nation.
Particular ridicule was saved for his suggestion that the cure could be fed to patients in a kebab. The furore did not stop over 70,000 people from signing up via email to to try the new treatment, according to independent news website Youm7. Egypt has one of the highest hepatitis C infection rates in the world.
The devices’ credibility had unravelled yet further in the run-up to their expected launch. On Tuesday, a local news website Egpyt Independent claimed that Abdelatty’s research had not been peer reviewed. Egypt Independent’s editorial team said they had submitted an “obviously incoherent” and heavily plagiarised article to the journal in which research on the cure had been published, and received notification of its acceptance within just 24 hours.
Tags: Egypt, Middle East and North Africa, Africa, Peer review and scientific publishing, Aids and HIV.