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    Sameh Ahmed said:

    The report has a great error and it reflects the confusion present even in Egypt between two different instruments
    1- C-FAST for diagnosis and inventor dr. Gamal ٍSheiha: It is for diagnosis of hepatitis C only and not for cure……it was published as patent and a paper and all what you write in this article is for this one
    2- Complete Cure: for treatment of hepatitis C and HIV and the inventor of this one called Major General Ibrahim Abdul Atti…..No data even published or presented for that one and they claimed to treat both diseases and 300 patients were treated by as they said…..We should wait untill they present data scientifically to be able to Judge as a real finding or a hoax.

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    Naglaa Shoukry said:

    *To C or not to C: The Truth about C-FAST and Complete Cure*
    Dr. Yahia,

    Thank you for tackling this controversial issue and thanks to Dr. Islam Hussein for his informative and simplified video to demystify the scientific truth behind this claimed discovery. As a native Egyptian who has spent the past 15 years in research on hepatitis C, I was shocked by this news conference that lacks the basics of scientific merit. I have a few additional comments to your article:

    Several scientists and non-scientific individuals are citing, as a proof of concept, the work of the Nobel laureate Dr. Luc Montagnier on the detection of bacterial electromagnetic signals in diluted filtrates . Another paper from Dr. Montagnier reports detection of DNA forms of HIV in the plasma of patients undergoing antiretroviral therapy. . I would like to clarify that this recent research by Dr. Montagnier is very controversial and was termed pathological science. . His papers are published in a journal with a very short turnaround time and where he is one of the editors.

    Despite it being controversial, the work from Dr. Montagnier does respect the scientific norms of reporting and publishing and does provide sufficient details of the experiments performed but there are no similar reports by other groups on PubMed which raises the issue of reproducibility. Furthermore, the claims in the Montagnier paper are based on bacterial filtrates containing circular DNA structures. HIV and HCV are RNA viruses and as the group demonstrated in the second paper, electromagnetic signals are emitted by the DNA and not the RNA from of HIV. The DNA form is called provirus and is integrated within the cellular genome. This questions the capacity of the C-FAST to detect HCV which is an RNA virus and non-integrated RNA forms of HIV by a similar mechanism.

    Several reports also reference a publication in Journal of Hepatology (Impact factor 9.8) as a proof of publication in a journal of high caliber. This publication is an abstract for a poster presented at the Annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of the Liver in 2011. While abstracts are selected after peer review, this process is not as rigorous as a scientific publication and is based only on the abstract which provided limited opportunity to review the actual data and thus should be not considered a real publication.

    The complete cure device is even more of a mystery as compared to C-FAST. Not only it is not clear how it works but we have no idea what type of tests were performed to confirm that the patients have indeed eliminated either HCV or HIV and how long afterwards the patients were followed for potential recurrence. As mentioned by Dr. Hussein in his presentation, HIV persists even in presence of the most effective treatment as a proviral DNA integrated within the cellular genome. The purging of this latent reservoir is the Holy Grail of HIV eradication. . For HCV, the virus replicates primarily in the liver and even in situations of liver transplants, reinfection of the new grafted liver is universal suggesting that elimination of all virally infected cells and/or cells harboring viral material are essential for complete viral clearance.

    The ethical considerations are also paramount. It is not clear from the news conference what type of Institutional Review Boards (IRB) approved this experimentation on infected individuals and whether informed consent was obtained. This becomes increasingly important as we read recent news reports about additional testing on infected individuals. The established norms of beneficence in medical ethics require a risk/benefit analysis to the trial with a guarantee that individuals participating in the trial will receive treatment at least equivalent to the current standard of care and with minimal risks. Furthermore, the safety of the Complete Cure device is not established. I am particularly concerned that this device operates similar to a dialysis machine. In a country where dialysis is one of the main causes of HCV infection in the first place, I would think twice before subjecting anyone to this procedure.

    Finally, it is very unnerving that some known Egyptian clinicians are lending their support to this research while others are treading lightly around the issue for fear of repercussion or at least being called unpatriotic. There is no place for politics in science and if the status quo persists then we risk the independence and integrity of research and medical care in Egypt and the credibility of Egyptian researchers worldwide.

    Naglaa Shoukry, B.Pharm, Ph.D. , Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre, Montreal, QC, Canada

    Dr. Shoukry holds a Pharmacy degree from Cairo University and Ph.D. in Immunology from McGill University. She has co-authored over 30 papers on HCV. She heads a translational research program focused on studying immunity to HCV, mechanisms underlying failure of the immune response and therapy against HCV. Her research is funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Canadian Liver Foundation (CLF). She is the recipient of multiple awards from the American Liver Foundation, CIHR. She is an Academic Editor for PLoS One and a mentor in the National Canadian Research Training Program on Hepatitis C (NCRTP-HepC).