April 16, 2003
The research effort was sponsored by Dr. Henry Heimlich, the Heimlich Institute's founder and creator of the anti-choking Heimlich maneuver. The experiments seek to use the immune reaction induced by malaria as a possible AIDS treatment. Many AIDS researchers say the therapy could harm already ill patients by infecting them with another potentially deadly disease.
A second UCLA researcher, Najib Aziz, who was also investigated, was not found to have broken any rules, said UCLA spokesperson Max Benavidez. Aziz was working "under Dr. Fahey's purview," he said.
Fahey said he "regrets the misunderstanding this matter has caused." He said he became indirectly involved in the so-called malariotherapy research in 1997, when he was training a Chinese scientist, Xiao Ping Chen, during a three-month program at UCLA. At the time, Chen was testing blood serum collected several years earlier from patients he had infected with malaria. Fahey said that was "the only time specimens from malariotherapy patients were at UCLA."
UCLA's review board said Fahey had violated regulations and school policy for the protection of human subjects by not seeking approval from the university before allowing Chen to conduct research at UCLA. The university reiterated Tuesday that it "has never approved any research pertaining to malariotherapy studies for HIV." UCLA administrators will review the board's findings to determine whether discipline is required, Benavidez said.
Los Angeles Times
04.16.03; Rebecca Trounson; Charles Ornstein