Earlier today, 9GAG shared this:
What the fuck, 9GAG? At the time of this writing, there are nearly 13,000 shares of the post. That is abhorrent and beyond irresponsible. Although let's be clear: you shouldn't be getting your scientific information from 9gag.
In the mid-1990s, the US patent office approved US 5676977 A: “Method of curing AIDS with tetrasilver tetroxide molecular crystal devices.” Unfortunately, it was a load of crap and the compound was never shown to serve any biomedical benefit. “But it was given a US patent!” alternative medicine proponents will cry, as the claim is still getting circulated 20 years later.
Unfortunately, gaining a patent is not on par with gaining FDA approval. The patent office only cares that product is unique so it can’t be copied by someone else. That’s it. They claim the product must be “useful” but that is highly subjective and the product never has to be proven to work. Tetrasilver tetroxide has a patent? Fantastic. So does the fabric in Pajama Jeans, but it’s not like those are benefiting society in any way.
The method is claimed to be so effective that “a single intravenous injection will completely obliterate acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) in humans.” There have been no peer-reviewed, placebo-controlled studies to indicate that this compound serves any purpose for those with AIDS or cancer. The only “study” that indicates any kind of value in this treatment is self-published and the website also denies a link between HIV and AIDS. Yes, that's a real position held by many practitioners of alternative medicine.
There have been other claims that various silver oxide treatments can cure AIDS and cancer, as well as bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. While silver has been shown to weaken gram negative bacterial cell membranes, making them more susceptible to the effects of antibiotics, the silver doesn’t actually kill the bacteria itself. Additionally, silver can be toxic and lead to a permanent condition known as argyria, where the skin turns a blue-grey color. Other miracle claims of silver are unsubstantiated, and most scientists do not believe that any potential antimicrobial benefit outweighs the risk at this juncture.
Passing along something that claims US5676977 A can cure AIDS “just to be safe” is counterproductive and incredibly dangerous. Someone who has AIDS could be confused by the information and very well forego taking their anti-retrovirals (which are fairly expensive) in favor of a cheaper “remedy.” As there is no indication that silver oxide will help them, they are potentially left to be more vulnerable to lethal opportunistic infections.
Advocating natural “miracle cures” for AIDS or cancer just incites fear by making people believe there are vast conspiracies by the scientific community and the government. It is also potentially lethal, as it may scare people out of taking much-needed medications, allowing the disease to advance.
Please help put an end to serial sharing of unproven nonsense.