The Egyptian military has developed a device capable of both detecting and curing HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C, according to the country’s government, though the claim has been met with widespread scepticism by both scientists and the Egyptian public.
The development of the device was first announced in a government press release issued on Sunday, which said that military scientists had “achieved a scientific breakthrough by inventing systems for diagnosing Hepatitis and AIDS without any need to take a sample of blood from the patient”.
The invention, dubbed the Complete Cure Device, claims to cure the viruses in a matter of days without the need for drugs or surgery, according to Egyptian media reports.
An image of the device in action
The device, which apparently detects the viruses through analysing electromagnetic waves, resembles a handheld box with a large antenna protruding from it and is said to be adapted from bomb detection technology also developed by the Egyptian military.
Footage broadcast by Egyptian television showed the device’s antenna swinging towards people as they walked past, seemingly making a positive diagnosis.
It then uses electromagnetic waves to kill the virus and turn it into amino acids, according to a report by Egyptian TV channel Sada al-Balad.
The device will apparently not be available outside of Egypt, however. Egyptian daily Al-Ahram quoted Major General Abdullah Taher, the head of the army's engineering authority, as saying the devices would not be exported abroad in order to protect them from "the mafia" of big pharmaceutical companies and nations that control the pharmaceutical industry.
Not everyone is convinced of the device’s healing powers.
"I can find no evidence to support the claims that this device detects Hepatitis C or any other viruses as mentioned in the patent, nor any clear theoretical rationale for how it would work,” Emma Thomson, a specialist in infectious diseases at the University of Glasgow, told the BBC after studying what appears to be a patent application for the device.
Many social media users, including those in Egypt, were also sceptical of the military’s claims.
“Egypt's claim to have an instant cure for HIV and Hepatitis shows the lengths the coup leaders will go for legitimacy,” said one Twitter user.
The device’s announcement comes at a pivotal time for Egypt’s military. The army's chief, Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, is seen as one of the frontrunners in upcoming presidential elections.
A potential cure for Hepatitis C is likely to strike a particularly important chord with the Egyptian public. The country is home to the world's highest prevalence of the virus, afflicting 15 percent of the population.
In an article for The Commentator, Egyptian poet, actor and prominent intellectual Ahmed Abdel-Raheem described the military’s claims as “a political miracle rather than a medical one”.
“The media message is, of course, clear: We can depend only on Egypt's armed forces; they're the hope; they're the people who can meet all our needs; they're the men of impossible missions; they're the best to lead Egypt in the coming years,” he wrote.
Egyptian TV report on the 'Complete Cure Device', translatered by MEMRI
Date created : 2014-02-26