South Africa to conduct test using microwaves to disable HIV

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com April 05 2003 1:00 AM ET

A South African university is planning to begin clinical trials to see if it can use microwaves to bombard HIV and stop it from multiplying, a medical official said on Thursday. Prof. Barry Kistnasamy, head of the Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine in Durban, said the school plans to recruit about 360 HIV-positive patients within the next few weeks for the trials, which are due to be completed by the end of the year. The treatment uses electromagnetic technology similar to that used in cellular phones, laptop computers, and microwave ovens to bombard HIV with microwaves, which in theory will damage HIV and prevent it from being able to reproduce.

"What we are testing is the hypothesis that electromagnetic frequency induces breaks in the viral genome [and] whether this effect will interfere with viral replication," Kistnasamy said.

Invented by Russian scientists and perfected in South Africa, the treatment was prepared for the clinical trials by South African medical technology company Hivex and has been financed so far by a $3 million grant from Britain's BAE Systems defense company. The clinical trial will be monitored and peer-reviewed by a panel of international medical experts from universities in South Africa, Canada, Hungary, and the United States.