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National News

UCLA Reopens Probe of Two Researchers

February 19, 2003

A University of California-Los Angeles medical oversight board has reopened an investigation to examine new information suggesting that UCLA microbiology professor John L. Fahey and an associate, Najib Azziz, may have been involved in controversial medical studies to inject Chinese AIDS patients with malaria-infected blood, a UCLA spokesperson said Tuesday. For the Cincinnati-based Heimlich Institute, Chinese scientists are conducting experimental malariotherapy, which studies the treatment efficacy of using the high fevers induced by malaria as a possible treatment for AIDS.

Proposed in the late 1980s by Dr. Henry Heimlich, creator of the Heimlich maneuver, the research is viewed with skepticism by mainstream AIDS researchers. It was not clear whether the research was ongoing. The Heimlich Institute Web site indicates that eight male patients were involved and "remained well."

In a statement in December, UCLA said its institutional review board, which reviews medical experiments involving human subjects, had found no evidence to tie the two UCLA researchers to the malaria studies. But last week, after inquiries by a reporter for the Cincinnati Enquirer, UCLA issued a second statement, saying the review board would "continue its inquiry into anonymous accusations linking UCLA faculty to malaria studies in China." The statement also said the university "has never approved any research pertaining to malaria therapy studies for HIV."

The Enquirer reported Sunday that it had obtained e-mails and documents dating to 1996 that tied the UCLA researchers to the China experiments. Steven Peckman, associate director of the university review board, would not comment Tuesday on the information that led to the reopening of the investigation. Fahey and Azziz, contacted at their university offices, also declined to comment, although both have previously denied involvement in the research. Lawrence Lokman, UCLA's assistant vice chancellor of university communications, said the investigation was reopened Jan. 29, but would not comment on any specifics.

Back to other CDC news for February 19, 2003

Previous Updates

Adapted from:
Los Angeles Times
02.19.03; Rebecca Trounson; Thomas H. Maugh II



  
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
 

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