Egypt miracle hepatitis, HIV cure farce continues

The incoherent mess that is the Egyptian coup leaders' attempt to cling on to their claims to have invented a miracle cure for HIV and Hepatitis keeps on getting worse

Hiv_cure_claim
Oh what a tangled web we weave...
Ahmed_abdel-raheem
Ahmed Abdel-Raheem
On 14 March 2014 10:00

According to Dr. George Lakoff, a distinguished professor of cognitive science, health means life. If you have a serious illness or injury, and cannot get it treated adequately, you die. And tens of millions, of course, do.

Health denotes freedom. Life and freedom are real moral issues. And therefore health is a moral mission of the highest order, as Dr. Lakoff states. Moreover, health is a patriotic issue. Health security is a problem for far more Egyptians than military security. Everyone can understand that.

When you lie to the people about their health, you represent a very real terror. You kill not just the body but also the soul.   

And so we return to the farcical claims by the Egyptian coup leaders a short while ago that they had found a miracle cure for HIV and Hepatitis C. They're still forlornly holding on to their claims, but they can't quite hold the line, even in their own media.

Two days ago, Egypt's national newspaper Al-Akhbar ran a jubilant news story saying:

"Immediately after the Engineering Authority of the Armed Forces announced its device for treating HIV and Hepatitis C, local and international reactions began to come through; for example, the device-inventing team has been invited to give a talk on the mechanism of the machine at the International Conference on Viruses that will be held in China from 26-29 June.''

The whole world is in awe of the coup leaders' breakthrough!

But now it all starts to get a little convoluted. ''Gilead Sciences, Jewish-American, ran intensive negotiations to make Sovaldi, a drug invented by Prof. Remon Shinari,  Jewish, for treating Hepatitis C, available in Egypt in July, offering to reduce 10 percent of its total price," Al-Akhbar said.

The newspaper confirmed that Sovaldi is still in its trial stages and even the US, the UK, as well as many European countries, have refused to let the drug enter their countries.

In short, Al-Akhbar stressed that Sovaldi cannot be taken for granted as a safe treatment for Hepatitis. Put another way, the news outlet saw the drug as not good, and that the army's device threatens the future of Gilead's new product. (In a weird and roundabout way, this is the technique being adopted: we do have other options, the regime wants to say, but our miracle cure has made them redundant.)

That is great. But Al-Ahram newspaper has a quite different story.

Today, the newspaper said, ''War on Hepatitis C has already started; the army has prepared high-qualified doctors to go into this war; it is this same great army that attracted the attention of the world to the danger of Hepatitis on Egyptians, and succeeded in running big negotiations (with Gilead) to make the latest and best drug for treating Hepatitis (Sovaldi), which has a 90 percent success rate, available at less than 1 percent of its real price.''

So, according to Al-Ahram, Sovaldi is great. And notice the metaphor of war. Unlike the war on terror, the war on Hepatitis makes you feel safe. It is led by the Egyptian army and they will win. That is fantastic!

But is it really the army that ran such negotiations?

Al-Akhbar doesn't agree. One week ago, it said that Dr. Wahid Dos, Dean of the National Liver Institute, is the one who ran the negotiations with Gilead.

In its answer to emails from Egyptians inquiring about the Egyptian miracle cure device, the Engineering Authority of the Armed forces, according to Al-Ahram, stressed that the treatment includes taking pills and undergoing sessions on the miracle device. But what are such pills? Are they Sovaldi?

Three months ago, in an interview with El-Masry El-Youm, Dr. Wahid Dos said that Sovaldi will be available in Egypt on June 30, 2014. Isn't that the date for when the army said their device will become operational?

Surely, the answer to this riddle couldn't be that patients are going to take a foreign drug while also using the miracle device at the same time, so that it becomes impossible to distinguish between the results of one and the other?

And what about that international conference to be held in China? Isn't our military team going to give a talk there about our Complete Cure Device (CCD)?  I don't know. But I know that the conference is entitled, ''BIT's 4th Annual World Congress of Microbes 2014 (WCM2014). Is Hepatitis C a microbe? And HIV?

Finally, Major General Taher Abdullah, Chief of the Engineering Authority of the Armed Forces, has been quoted in Shuruk newspaper as saying, ''We strive to find a cure for Hepatitis; if we succeed, we will have two rewards; if we fail, we will have one.''

It is great when military men use religious texts in their speeches, as the Major General did. It would be even better if in their attempts to cover for a spectacular and blatant lie about a miracle cure for HIV and hepatitis, what they said made any sense at all, and the small lies used to defend the big lie were in any way coherent.

Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive...

A Contributing Editor to The Commentator, the writer, currently based in Europe, is an Egyptian poet, actor, and political intellectual

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