Roll out of Egyptian army's hepatitis cure delayed for 'further testing'

Ahram Online, Saturday 28 Jun 2014

Army official said there had been positive results from initial trials using the 'complete cure device'

Still photo from short documentary was shown in the armed forces press conference on State TV of Physician and Major General Ibrahim Abdel Atti with "C-Fast" device

A device invented by the Egyptian military that allegedly cures hepatitis C will not be revealed to the public for another six months, according to the armed forces’ medical director, Major General Gamal El-Serfy.

“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,” El-Serfy stated at a press conference on Saturday.

“The health of the Egyptian citizen is more important than anything,” he stated, in comments reported by Al-Ahram Arabic.

Military officials had previously said the device would come into service on 30 June – the anniversary of mass protests that lead to the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi – to treat patients in military hospitals.

One hundred and sixty patients are currently being treated using the device according to Madiha Khatab, a member of the medical committee developing the device.

Dr Khatab said that clinical trials would take 12 months; six for full recovery and six for follow-ups.

She described the trials as having positive results, and said the committee would seek international accreditation for the device.

The controversial device drew scepticism from experts and the general public when first unveiled by the military in February.

The scientific advisor to Egypt's then president denounced the claims made at the time as "shocking to scientists," saying the devices had no scientific basis.

Egypt has one of the highest rates of Hepatitis C infection in the world, reaching eight million in 2008, according to health ministry figures, or nearly 10 percent of the population. In some parts of Upper Egypt and the Nile Delta, infection rates reach 20 percent.

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