A health research institute in the coastal resort town of Nha Trang Friday concluded that a physicist's controversial treatment for hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) is not backed by scienctific evidence.
The Nha Trang Pasteur Institute, which studied the treatment used by Nguyen Van Khai on the Health Ministry's instructions, also asked the Ninh Thuan General Hospital to stop applying it.
Instead, the hospital should follow the ministry's instructions on treating treat the disease, the institute said.
According to the institute, there is no study in the world that shows using anolyte - a solution produced during the electrolysis of salt water can treat the contagious disease.
Worse still, some materials in the solution could be harmful if it is introduced into the body and can even cause cancer if used for a long time, the institute said, adding that when applied on skin, anolyte only functions as a sanitizer.
On November 15, the Ministry of Health ordered the hospital to halt Khai's treatment until the institute has completed its assessment.
Khai, who was the first to introduce ozone technology in Vietnam, had used the anolyte solution to sanitize hospital areas as well as diseased children's clothing since November 11 when he volunteered to help the hospital fight HFMD.
Local media reports said he even let children bathe in his solution, drink it and use it to cleanse their mouths, and that after doing so, several children were recovering, with their rash and lesions getting better. Meanwhile, provincial authorities said their studies of patients recognized that his method was working.
More than 560 children have been infected with HFMD and four children have died in Ninh Thuan this year. Ninh Thuan is the first and only province in Vietnam so far to declare the disease an epidemic.
Nationwide, the disease has killed 138 people, mostly children, out of more than 77,000 infections in 63 cities and provinces.
Khai, who holds a doctorate in physics, had hit up on this treatment method several years ago and applied with reported success on animals and later, human beings.
Farmers have said that his treatment worked for treating ailments in their animals, and in this instance, parents have also vouched that his treatment for HFMD has been effective.
Khai had earlier said the he would regret it for the rest of his life if he did not try help people suffering from HFMD with this solution.