Arms man’s quack Aids ‘miracle’

2011-08-13 15:21

At least 700 people have been treated in the last year alone using a controversial and unregulated radio-magnetic therapy for HIV, spawned by South Africa’s arms deal.

The therapy, called Hivex, was researched and found wanting after a R24-million investment in 2003 from BAE Systems.

The investment was part of its return investment for winning a multibillion-dollar contract as part of the arms deal.

At that time, arms deal fixer Fana Hlongwane – now accused of receiving millions in irregular payments from BAE and Saab – was a director of Hivex.

Aids activists condemn the treatment as quackery, but Hivex’s Clive Harvey Fox told City Press they have treated 700 patients at their treatment centre in Durban since October last year and that the results have been “astounding”.

Nathan Geffen, a Treatment Action Campaign leader and author of the book Debunking Delusions, said he knew of no “reputable organisation that has accepted the Hivex device as safe and effective”.

Hivex was first used in KwaZulu-Natal in 2002 to test and market the Russian machine they claim could disable the virus by targeting proteins in the HI virus, so rendering it ineffective.

Fox says he has undergone the Hivex “miracle cure” and that he turns no one away who can’t afford the R1 000 once-off “donation”.

The BAE investment enabled Hivex to contract the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine at the University of KwaZulu-Natal to run a clinical trial.

The trade and industry department’s National Industrial Participation Programme report, which tracks the progress of offset investments, reflects that Hivex achieved product trials to pursue commercialisation.

But dean of the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine Professor Umesh Lalloo said the device did not treat HIV.

“We found that there was no evidence of any benefit in using the machine to treat HIV,” said Lalloo, who assumed his position after the Hivex trial.

Fox was dismissive of university staff who, he claimed, happily pocketed about R60 000 a month during the trial but who would not put their names down on research papers for peer review.

The TAC has twice intervened to stop Hivex from promoting their claims, including complaining to the Advertising Standards Authority.

The Hivex website is now password protected, except for listing Fox’s cell number.

Hivex CEO Cameron Scott said BAE’s involvement was “ancient history” and “it serves no one to keep digging it up”.

“We’re not allowed to promote it, and we’re not,” said Scott, but added he couldn’t control what “people” did on an unrelated blog.

However, the blog and a Twitter account are run by the same registered owner of the barred website.

The Twitter account HIVEXnow mentions: “(t)he vision is do a . . . clinical trial on 300 people . . . We need $1 000 000 for this”.

It accuses the HIV industry of being fiercely guarded by “those who make huge money out of others’ misery”.

HIV Clinicians Society president Professor Francois Venter called Hivex “another quack group”.

The health department did not respond to requests for comment.

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