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Heimlich Criticized for Treating AIDS Patients with Malaria

November 7, 1994

CINCINNATI (AP) _ The doctor who gave the world the Heimlich maneuver is trying to cure AIDS with malaria.

The fever stimulates a strong response from the immune system, Dr. Henry Heimlich said. AIDS depresses the immune system.

″If we were not encouraged by the results so far, we would not be continuing our work,″ Heimlich said in Sunday’s Cincinnati Enquirer.

In May, the Great Lakes Association of Clinical Medicine, a research evaluation organization, approved the research, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention comes down hard on the other side.

″No evidence currently exists to indicate that malaria infection would beneficially affect the course of HIV infection,″ the center’s policy says. ″Without evidence ... the use of induced malaria infection in HIV infected individuals cannot be justified.″

Critics have not reviewed his research protocol, have misinterpreted scientific evidence and have overstated the risks, Heimlich said.

His study calls for repeatedly inducing malaria in up to 30 AIDS patients. Each patient is to go through 10 or more fevers under close medical supervision, then be cured of malaria and monitored for signs of any impact on their AIDS.

The researchers will submit their results to a medical journal when the experiment is completed in about two years, Heimlich said.

Heimlich declined to confirm reports that he’s used the treatment on at least nine patients in China since 1993, the paper said.

The man who created the maneuver to clear the obstructed airway of a choking person has previously touted malaria as a way to combat cancer and Lyme disease.

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