The University of California, Los Angeles, is reopening an investigation into two faculty researchers' possible involvement in a study in China in which HIV-positive people were injected with malaria-infected blood to see whether the high fevers associated with the disease could help slow HIV replication, the Los Angeles Times reports. The study is being conducted by Chinese researchers for the Cincinnati-based Heimlich Institute.
A UCLA review board in December said it had uncovered no evidence that microbiologist John Fahey and his associate Najib Aziz had participated in the experiments. But the university reopened the investigation after the Cincinnati Enquirer recently reported that it obtained documents showing the two men had been active in the studies since 1996. Both Fahey and Aziz say they did not participate in the research.
A university spokesman reiterated Friday that UCLA has never approved any research into malariotherapy for HIV treatment but said the university would "continue its inquiry into anonymous accusations linking UCLA faculty to malaria studies in China."
The malariotherapy study has been called a "medical atrocity" by health professionals, human rights advocates, and officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.