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I just found a picture that said:

Wanna know a Secret? Google for 5676977

That leads to US Patent 5,676,977 which describes using the "diamagnetic semiconducting molecular crystal tetrasilver tetroxide", Ag₄O₄, to cure AIDS.

Does this substance cure AIDs, as described in the patent?

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19  
Filing for patent with USPTO does not require a proof of concept, or in fact any proof at all that it would work. –  vartec Jul 1 at 12:03
    
Just requires proof of originality, and even then, it's not solid ground. –  fredsbend Jul 1 at 21:02
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@fredsbend not really, look at this one: google.com/patents/US6368227 –  vartec Jul 2 at 9:18
    
Diluted bleach cures AIDS just as good and is cheaper. I forgot the name of the snakeoil seller who promotes it... –  Damon Jul 2 at 15:04
1  
@vartec That's on the "not solid ground" part of the patents office. –  fredsbend Jul 2 at 15:18

3 Answers 3

up vote 32 down vote accepted

No, it doesn't cure AIDS.

A page with a list of fake cures states:

Tetrasil (or Imusil) is a substance containing tetrasilver tetroxide. A patent held by Dr. Marvin S. Antelman claims that this simple chemical compound cures AIDS by “electrocuting” HIV. Dr. Antelman admits his approach to AIDS is “non-conventional” and he does not trust viral load tests: “Accordingly we have patients who display viral load reduction and those that do not who are nevertheless cured of AIDS”, he has said. Tetrasilver tetroxide is more commonly used for disinfecting swimming pools. After it was promoted as an AIDS cure in Zambia the government banned Tetrasil because it has no proven benefits for people living with HIV. In America it is illegal to promote Tetrasil for the treatment or prevention of any disease.

FDA Code of Federal Regulations Title 21 mentioned above states (emphasis mine):

Sec. 310.548 Drug products containing colloidal silver ingredients or silver salts offered over-the-counter (OTC) for the treatment and/or prevention of disease.

(a) Colloidal silver ingredients and silver salts have been marketed in over-the-counter (OTC) drug products for the treatment and prevention of numerous disease conditions. There are serious and complicating aspects to many of the diseases these silver ingredients purport to treat or prevent. Further, there is a lack of adequate data to establish general recognition of the safety and effectiveness of colloidal silver ingredients or silver salts for OTC use in the treatment or prevention of any disease. These ingredients and salts include, but are not limited to, silver proteins, mild silver protein, strong silver protein, silver, silver ion, silver chloride, silver cyanide, silver iodide, silver oxide, and silver phosphate.

(b) Any OTC drug product containing colloidal silver ingredients or silver salts that is labeled, represented, or promoted for the treatment and/or prevention of any disease is regarded as a new drug within the meaning of section 201(p) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the act) for which an approved application or abbreviated application under section 505 of the act and part 314 of this chapter is required for marketing. In the absence of an approved new drug application or abbreviated new drug application, such product is also misbranded under section 502 of the act.

(c) Clinical investigations designed to obtain evidence that any drug product containing colloidal silver or silver salts labeled, represented, or promoted for any OTC drug use is safe and effective for the purpose intended must comply with the requirements and procedures governing the use of investigational new drugs as set forth in part 312 of this chapter.

(d) After September 16, 1999, any such OTC drug product containing colloidal silver or silver salts initially introduced or initially delivered for introduction into interstate commerce that is not in compliance with this section is subject to regulatory action.

[64 FR 44658, Aug. 17, 1999]

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Then, how the hell patent wasn't rejected? –  Sachin Shekhar Jul 2 at 0:23
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@SachinShekhar: Patents don't have to work; they just have to be first. –  jwodder Jul 2 at 2:51
    
@jwodder Then, can I hold a patent of making humans immortals? –  Sachin Shekhar Jul 2 at 4:28
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@SachinShekhar: no, it has to be more specific by that. For example "a method or process of making humans immortal by oral consumption of ethyl". –  vartec Jul 2 at 7:57
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@SachinShekhar: here is a great patent google.com/patents/US6368227 –  vartec Jul 2 at 9:18

No, tetrasilver tetroxide has not been demonstrated as an effective antiviral agent, which would be required to remove the HIV virus that causes AIDS.

In 2005, a review examined the claims from patents from 2001-2004 related to the use of silver as an antimicrobial agent.

A biological evaluation of the anti-viral properties of silver tetra-silver tetra-oxide is discussed, but no biological data have been reported to support the claim that silver (I) has anti-viral properties, as disclosed by most of the patents.

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1  
Ooh, @vartec's answer is more definitive. Vote for that one. –  Oddthinking Jul 1 at 12:37

I can apply for a patent for a gadget that I envision. That doesn't mean the gadget does what I purport that it does.

For example: I beleive that I can create an engine that uses water as intake, seperates the oxygen into hydrogen and oxygen, and then burns the hydrogen and oxygen as fuel. I can also claim that this engine will have zero emissions, and be extremely cheap.

I then submit a patent for this engine, to protect my idea.

Then, I gather venture capital to actually produce the engine

I produce the engine - It doesn't work.

Since the engine no longer works, I let the patent lapse by not paying the fees. The patent record still exists.

In this case

Check the details for this patent on Google Patents. You can see that the patent lapsed due to non-payment 13 years later. Now, this does not mean that it was lapsed due to the patent not functioning.

To add more, if this drug actually worked, and it was a conspiracy (big pharma blocking the drug) - wouldn't it make more sense to keep the patent alive, so they could kill any company who wanted to sell it?

Overall

It is impossible to know just from a patent application if the patent actually functions as claimed. You would need to find a scientific study to prove or disprove this claim.

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Welcome to Skeptics!. This is rather circumstantial. Many patents do work. The patents lapse might be for any of dozens of reasons. You haven't definitively shown it is ineffective. –  Oddthinking Jul 1 at 12:06
    
Also, the patent describes an experiment claiming an increase in white blood cells as evidence, so you can't say "no proof whatsoever" –  Oddthinking Jul 1 at 12:07
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You are correct, I don't have proof it is ineffective. My point is simply that a patent is not proof it is effective. I did not see that proof statement, so I will take that out of my answer. –  Mike Christiansen Jul 1 at 12:13
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Nowhere does this actually address the question of whether or not the substance cures AIDS, other than implicitly saying "I don't know." –  jwodder Jul 2 at 2:50
    
Actually, the "engine" you cite does fall in the category of perpetual motion machines, and the USPTO should demand that you show them a working model before issuing that patent. "Being exteremely cheap", by the way, is not part of any patent claim, though it's part of the reason someone might want to license that particular patent. Also, remember to distinguish patent applied for/patent pending versus patent issued versus "registered US patent office" (aesthetic design patent, not technical patent). –  keshlam Jul 3 at 1:35

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