Apparently all you needed to cure a deadly and debilitating disease that has wiped out millions of people and stumped doctors for the last four decades is a "blessing from the Lord." That's how top Egyptian military officials said they did it.
"I conquered AIDS with the blessings of my Lord, glory to him, with a rate of 100%." Egyptian Gen. Dr. Ibrahim Abdel-Atti said this week. And the Egyptian government stated:
The Armed Forces personnel 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 was registered in the name of the Engineering corps of the Armed Forces and was authorized by the Ministry of Health.
The invention is said to detect chemicals, compounds, and their molecular signatures. And it kind of looks like something you'd drive an RC Car with:
The BBC asked an infectious disease expert at the University of Glasgow as to how the machine could cure AIDS. "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, the specialist, told them.
That's not good news for the 35 million people living with HIV. And clearly, doctors around the world and organizations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Health Organization shouldn't quit their day jobs.
But it also brings us to the main question: why would Egypt lie about this? Global prestige? Insanity? Trolling?
The answer is most likely a power play in the government. The country has a presidential election coming soon, and this could be part of the military strategy to gain the trust of the public. On Monday, the prime minister and his cabinet handed in their resignations. And Field Marshal Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, who was mentioned in the government's release on the "breakthrough," is considered the frontrunner in the presidential race.
In order for this kind of strategy to work, you need people to be gullible. And some Egyptians aren't so quick to trust. "I suggest you inject Al-Sisi with the virus and then cure him using the army's invention as means to inaugurate it and prove its efficacy," an Egyptian Twitter user quoted by the BBC said.
The current sitting president Adly Mansour has stated that further tests need to be done before this cure is shared with the world.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.