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Egyptian hepatitis C detector changes shape. Where’s the dowsing rod?

A couple of weeks ago there was a little row over an article in The Guardian. Their correspondent in Egypt had written a piece about a new detector used by Egyptian doctors to detect people with hepatitis C, with astonishing good results. Problematic was the absence of a plausible explanation how the device could work as described. Moreover this device had a striking resemblance to the bogus bomb detectors which were sold to countries like Iraq and may have been responsible for the dead of hundreds of people, because the devices failed to detect car bombs at checkpoints. Last week James McCormick, who made millions selling thousands of these devices to Iraq and other countries, was found guilty of fraud.
These dowsing rod like devices have been sold for detecting all kind of materials, ranging from golf balls to ivory. Detecting a virus inside a human body with it, as Dr Gamal Shiha is claiming to do, is something new. The detectors don’t work and generally don’t contain a bit of the advanced electronics which supposedly operates them. It’s all a big scam and that has been known for quite some time. The devices sometimes seem to work if you know that the object of investigation contains the material you want to detect. That’s because of the ideomotor effect, as Chris French wrote a couple of days ago.
Regarding the hepatitis C detector, The Guardian set the record straight by publishing good articles by Suzi Gage and Síle Lane on this matter. In the comments on those articles one of the involved(?) Egyptian researchers wrote that they would present the results of their research on the coming International Liver Congres in Amsterdam (EASL 2013). And indeed they were present with a poster presentation. For the Dutch website Kloptdatwel I wrote about this and asked around if someone would be going to this congres and could give a good look at the presentation. The abstract could be found freely accessible; the e-Poster itself can only be viewed by registered visitors to the congres. Luckily, someone was so kind to send me pictures of it. Apart from the remarkable results they show something very peculiar:

eposter of Shiha e.a. on EASL 2013 congres in Amsterdam
e-Poster of Shiha e.a. on EASL 2013 congres in Amsterdam

A close-up of the apparatus is confusing me:

The new C-FAST prototype?
The new C-FAST prototype?

This device doesn’t look at all like the dowsing rod Shiha was using according to the articles in The Guardian. And there was even a picture of him handling it! In the first article it was mentioned however that there were also digital versions of the device. Are those the ones shown on the e-Poster? But which one did they use getting the reported results? And why didn’t they show the antenna version as well? Questions, questions …

Dr Gamal Shiha demonstrates the prototype of a device that he claims can remotely detect the hepatitis C virus. Photograph: Patrick Kingsley/Guardian
From The Guardian: “Dr Gamal Shiha demonstrates the prototype of a device that he claims can remotely detect the hepatitis C virus.” Photograph: Patrick Kingsley/Guardian
Image of the(?) C-FAST detector from the patent application
Image of the C-FAST detector from the patent application

 

Update 23-2-2014: followed up in a new blog because of recent developments in Egypt

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