Here's a far-fetched claim we wish were true: Last week, the Egyptian army announced it had developed a cure for AIDS and hepatitis C. In fact, Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Abdul Atti went so far as to insist the invention of an Egyptian military team, the "Complete Cure Device," had cured 100 percent of the AIDS patients they'd tested, and more than 95 percent of hepatitis C sufferers. The apparent "miracle cure," said Atti, works in as little as 16 hours — and it's expected to hit Egypt's hospital shelves in June.
Unfortunately, almost everybody, including most of Egypt's medical community, doesn't believe it works. The Complete Cure Device is a piece of equipment that draws blood out of the patient, purifies it, and then returns it to the body— a little like dialysis. Abdul Atti claims that his cure is the culmination of 22 years of personal scientific investigation, which military intelligence had taken on as a secret project.
The Complete Cure Device is accompanied by little instruments, which Abdul Atti claims diagnose HIV and hepatitis C using electromagnetic waves. And it gets weirder: These mini-devices, called C-Fast and I-fast, bear a striking resemblance to a fake bomb detector sold to Iraq by a British company.
Last year, British conman James McCormick was jailed for 10 years for selling more than 7,000 of the devices, named ADE 651, and pocketing £50 million.
"The scientific claims behind this are completely sh-t," former U.S. Army Chemical Corps officer Dan Kaszeta said in an interview with Mashable. "The idea that somehow a virus has an electronic emanation that a device with no internal working parts and no power source can somehow pick up, it's patently ridiculous."
Even Egypt's doctors aren't buying it. Dr. Essam Heggy, the scientific adviser to the interim president, told the Al-Watan newspaper that this announcement was a "scientific scandal" for Egypt which "hurts the image of scientists and science" in the country.
The unveiling of the Complete Cute Device was attended by Field Marshal Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, chief of the Egyptian military and a strong contender for the upcoming presidency. Which may solve this mystery: Critics have concluded that the announcement was intended to boost El-Sisi's chances in the elections.
And if we suspend our disbelief for a moment: what if this was a cure? Well, it'd be incredible news for Egypt, which has the highest prevalence of hepatitis C worldwide. More than 10 percent of the population suffers from the disease, meaning any device that claims to cure it will be very popular.
But we'll maintain that disbelief for now: The announcement was not accompanied by any published scientific research or studies to back it up. Nothing. Nada.