Social media a-twitter over HIV ‘cure’ that smacks of quackery

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A new HIV cure, being punted on social media, “smacks of quackery”, says prominent HIV scientist, Professor Francois Venter from the University of Witwatersrand’s Reproductive Health and HIV Institute. Health-e News reports that Gammora, a drug being developed by Israeli biomedical company Zion Medical, is being sold to the world as a breakthrough in the fight against HIV, even offering a “potential cure”.

Twitter parody account @AdvBarryRoux, which has almost half a million followers, has been tweeting about the new ‘wonder’ drug. And, the report says many other Twitter users have responded similarly enthusiastically believing the sweeping claims.

The HIV world has been plagued by denialism and quacks promoting cures which has hurt the Aids fight and resulted in unnecessary deaths. “The HIV world has seen quackery in different forms for decades – sadly this smacks of more of it,” Venter is quoted in the report as saying.

He said that saying the drug is a potential cure with no side-effects are “over-the-top biological claims that appear in public before the formal literature (is published) and should be viewed with deep scepticism”.

The report says a search could not find Zion Medical’s results published in any peer-reviewed scientific or medical journal and the company had not responded to requests for a copy by the time of writing.

“I looked at the press report and the unsophisticated company website, and even if you believe their claims, they are many years away from testing them,” said Venter. He said: “This gives science and scientists a bad name.”

Health-e News report

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