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December 04, 1987 - Image 25

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-12-04

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A simple, non-toxic substance,
derived from egg yolks and
developed by the Weizmann
Institute, offers the promise of
inhibiting deadly virus' power to
spread from one cell to another.

he stream of anguished letters,
telegrams and telephone calls pours
in every day from all over the world.
Some days, there are as few as ten; other
days, as many as 140. Each is a desperate
cry for help from an AIDS victim in search
of a miracle.
Some do not bother to write or call. They
simply take the first available flight to
Israel and turn up at Kaplan Hospital or
the Rokach-Hadassah Medical Center in
Tel Aviv.
"Some are terminal cases, most are in an
advanced stage of the disease," says Dr.
Yehuda Skorknick, of Rokach-Hadassah.
"We have patients from almost every
continent—from Europe, from the United
States and Canada, from South Africa.
And more are arriving every week."
These life-seekers have heard from
others, or via the gay press and AIDS in-
formation networks, of a new, experimen-
tal but highly promising AIDS treatment
called AL-721, which was developed at the
Weizmann Institute in Rehovot and which
is now being tested at Kaplan Hospital and
Rokach-Hadassah Medical Center.
AL-721 is a buttery lipid compound
derived from the humble egg yolk Patients
spread it on toast or crackers or they can
mix it into a juice ("It tastes pretty terri-
ble," says one doctor, "but we can fix that").
Those receiving treatment do not even
have to stay in the hospital—or, indeed, in
Israel. They are simply sent home with a
supply of AL-721 in 20-gram pots which

they keep in the refrigerator and take daily.
All the Israeli doctors ask is that pa-
tients remain under close medical supervi-
sion and send them regular clinical reports
for evaluation.
But the efficacy of this totally natural,
non-toxic, seemingly simple nutrient is suf-
ficiently dramatic to have generated a
firestorm of hope among people who had
lost all hope.
Of the 60 AIDS victims who have been
treated with AL-721 over the past year, 48
have shown a very considerable improve-
ment in their general well-being, some-
times within a few days of embarking on
the treatment.
They have lost much of the lassitude
associated with AIDS, fevers have been
reduced, other symptoms have diminished.
And they have suffered no side effects.
Three patients, who were considered ter-
minal, are now in a state of remission.

More importantly, clincial tests show
that in the face of the treatment, the
deadly virus loses much of its "infectivi-
ty'—in other words, its power to spread
from one cell to another.
But AL-721 is not'and please, please
be emphatic about this," says Dr. Skork-
nick a cure for AIDS. "There is, as yet,
no cure for AIDS and it would be wicked
and irresponsible to claim otherwise."
Dr. Skorknick and his colleagues, how-
ever, readily concede that AL-721 may
prove to be an important breakthrough in

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