Outer Limits

December 1992 page 14



Despite official reassurances about this safety of the nations blood supply, concern lingers that small amounts of HIV-infected blood may be sneaking through, especially since current screening detects only antibodies to the virus, which can take months to form. But now a new electrical process for cleaning blood of viruses may solve the problem.

At the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, Steven Kaali, M.D., has found that most of the AIDS viruses in a blood sample will lose their infectious capability after being zapped by a very low-level current. Repeated exposure appears to leave blood virtually free of HIV, as well as hepatitis – without harming blood cells.

Kaali cautions that it will take years of testing before a virus-electrocuting device is ready for use. But, ultimately, he predicts, it could be used not just to purify blood, but to treat people with AIDS, by channeling their blood out of the body, exposing it to virus-killing current and then returning it. “By lowering the viral count”, he says, “we may be able to lengthen and improve the quality of AIDS patients’ lives.”

Sharon McAuliffe

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