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Egyptian military's 'complete cure device' for AIDS, hepatitis C needs more testing

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Despite advancements in the field of medicine, many diseases do not yet have available treatments. AIDS, for instance, which becomes increasingly prevalent worldwide, remains incurable. The Egyptian military, however, claims to have invented and is currently developing a device that it says can diagnose and treat diseases that are caused by viruses including those responsible for AIDS and hepatitis C.

Earlier this year, Egypt's army introduced what it claimed as a miraculous device that can detect and cure viruses including hepatitis C virus and HIV. Figures from Egypt's health ministry show that the country has eight million cases of hepatitis C in 2008, which is almost 10 percent of its population. HIV, on the other hand, affects over 35 million individuals worldwide, according to estimates of the World Health Organization.

The claim, however, has been dismissed by scientists and experts including those who attended the demonstration of the device saying they were not convinced with the explanations given about the technology.

University College London Institute for Liver and Digestive Health director Massimo Pinzani, who was not allowed to try the device for himself when he attended a demonstration, pointed out that in the absence of convincing scientific and technical basis, the device should be viewed as a potential fraud.

Despite skepticism from the scientific community, the military went ahead with the promotion of the "complete cure" device announcing that these will be used to treat patients in army hospitals starting June 30.

In a press conference on Saturday, however, the military said that it has to postpone the public use of the device as this would still need six months of further testing.

"Scientific integrity dictates that the announcement of the complete cure device should be postponed until the trial period for those currently receiving the cure is over," Major General Gamal El-Serfy, the medical director of the armed forces, said adding that the health of the people is "more important than anything."

Madiha Khatab, who is part of the medical committee that oversees the development of the device said that the device is currently being used to treat 160 patients. She said that the clinical trials would last 12 months with six months allotted for the full recovery of the patients and another six months is allotted for the follow up.

Khatab likewise said that the clinical trials show promising results and that the committee intends to apply for an international accreditation of the device.

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