Tetrasil (also known as Imusil, Genisil, Aviralex, OXi-MED, Beta-mannan, Micronutrient, Qina and SlicPlus) is tetrasilver tetroxide as used in alternative medicine for bacterial, fungal, and viral infections, and which is claimed to be a cure for AIDS and cancer.
There is no convincing evidence that Tetrasil is good for AIDS or cancer, though the very little research which has been done on it suggests that Tetrasil may be effective for wounds and ulcers.
Some conspiracy theorists allege that that the medical establishment is trying to suppress Tetrasil use for cancer and AIDS, with one claiming AIDS is man-made. They will often suggest people Google for "5676977", the number of a patent for using Tetrasil as such a cure.
The sale of Tetrasil as a medical treatment is banned in Zambia because it is unproven.
What is it?
Tetrasil appears to be pretty popular among naturopaths and other nature-inclined people, and products containing TST are often promoted with holistic buzzwords. One wonders why, since, by alternative medicine standards, "tetrasilver tetroxide" should be a toxic, synthetic chemical; Tetrasil doesn't come from plants or animals, and it's certainly not natural (it is made by slowly adding AgNO3 to a Na2S2O8 solution). The popularity of Tetrasil among alternative medicine users may be due to the earthy, back-to-nature marketing scheme used by companies selling it. It may also be due to association with the popular alternative treatment colloidal silver.
- TST is a pesticide used to disinfect swimming pool water.
- TST is highly toxic to aquatic species.
- Typical Material Safety Data Sheets identify silver oxide as a Category 2 Oxidizing Solid. OSHA standards define an "oxidizing solid" as "a solid which, while in itself not necessarily combustible, may, generally by yielding oxygen, cause, or contribute to, the combustion of other material. …"
The fact that silver oxide is used to disinfect swimming pools was, in fact, used to promote Tetrasil. But ironically, the use of certain substances for non-medicinal purposes such as cleaning and disinfecting is often touted by alternative medicine supporters as proof of toxicity or "unnaturalness" by association. ("Do you really want to put chemical detergents into your body?!?!?!")
At any rate, the difference between Tetrasil and conventional drugs lies not in any supposed "naturalness"; rather, Tetrasil is quite simply an unapproved pharmaceutical. No more, no less.
Tetrasil cream used to be sold by Aidance Skincare, until the FDA sent them a warning saying they were making unsubstantiated health claims and (therefore) selling an unapproved new drug. The company now sells a different cream named Terrasil, whose "maximum strength" and over-the-counter medicated ointment versions include silver oxide (now listed as an inactive ingredient).
Not much research has been done, but preliminary studies done on the compound so far suggest silver oxide may be good for wounds and ulcers. Silver oxide nanoparticles have antimicrobial properties in vitro but are toxic.
One page hosted by extremely paranoid conspiracy site Rex Research promotes Tetrasil as a cancer treatment and lists many patents held by a Tetrasil company. However, if there's a patent for it, that doesn't necessarily mean it's good; there are many patents, for instance, involving perpetual motion machines.
This is what part of the site has to say:
In October 1977, the United States patented a "method for curing AIDS', US Patent # 5,676,977. [Actually, the patent was filed in the 1990s.] The product is called TETRASIL/IMUSIL and is a one-time injection/infusion that eliminates bacterial pathogens in the blood system of an individual. It is this cheap and effective cure for AIDS that is the subject of my presentation.
As a 29-month recipient of this one time injection, I further submit that we have an effective and cheap remedy for AIDS that is ready now. Our goal in bringing this information to the international community is to serve as aconduit [sic] for the necessary global "double blind" efficacy clinical trials of this U.S. patented CURE for AIDS.
Recent clinical studies commissioned by Marantech and conducted by Exetec Labs in Honduras, indicate that topically applied Tetrasil can lead to dramatic improvements in such infection-caused skin conditions as acne, cold sores, herpes lesions, conjunctivitis, chickenpox,shingles, dermal tuberculosis and ringworm.
AIDS-Non Terminal Patients: "Clinical testing was performed at Exetec Lab, SA in Honduras under the supervision of Dr. L Roland Valenzuela. Thirty patients were selected from three etiological AIDS groups, 10 for each group namely, Candidiasis, Wasting Syndrome and p. carinii pneumonia. Each patient was given an intravenous infusion of Imusil administered over a three hour period. All patients experienced temperature elevation within 48 hours of administering the Imusil, which was indicative that the immune system was now functioning along with the fact that all patients also started to have dramatic increases in their white blood cell counts. At the end of 30 days of observation, all patients were cured of AIDS. All patients presenting Wasting Syndrome were completely cured of the Syndrome; the average patient gaining approximately one half pound per day. Three patients were completely cured of their pneumonia. Because the protocol was changed from direct injection to slow i.v. infusion of the Imusil, there were no side effects of hepatomegaly."
From this publicly available passage, it appears there is no placebo control group. In addition, as far as can be gleaned from PubMed, the study apparently has not been published in any journals, let alone peer-reviewed ones. Even if it has, the findings need to be independently replicated by other researchers.
If a pharmaceutical company promoted one of its drugs on the basis of an (apparently) unpublished, unblinded, uncontrolled, non-peer-reviewed study available only on its own website, that would clearly be unacceptable. Why should alternative medicine companies get a free pass?
- Debunked: "AIDS Cure Patent" (US Patent #5676977)
- Patent or No Patent, Silver Oxide Cannot Cure AIDS
- US-Patent 5676977: Gibt es ein Aids-Heilmittel?, Lifeline.de
- El 5676977 y los curiosos resultados de un bulo que es viral en Internet
- Foreign Product Alert, Health Canada.
- TetraSilver-TetraOxide vs. Cancer.
- The website of Boyd Graves.
- Zambia Bans Untested AIDS Cures , Voice of America.
- Silver(II) Oxide or Silver(I,III) Oxide?, David Tudela.
- Wells A.F. (1984) Structural Inorganic Chemistry. 5th edition. Oxford Science Publications ISBN 0-19-855370-6.
- E.g. 
- OSHA standard
- Aidance Skincare & Topical Solutions, LLC 03-Mar-08
- AIDANCE TERRASIL MAX. MAXIMUM STRENGTH TERRASIL WITH ELECTRON ACTIVE SILVER OXIDE. 44g Jar, Amazon.co.uk.
- TERRASIL WOUND CARE (allantoin 0.5%, benzethonium chloride 0.5%) ointment, DailyMed.
- TERRASIL WOUND CARE OTC, Drugs.com.
- Silver oxide ointment wound dressing in venous ulcerations: home, self-management, Belcaro G, Cesarone MR, Errichi BM, Ricci A, Antelman P, Dugall M, Pellegrini L, Ledda A, Viscardi G, Panminerva Med. 2011 Sep;53(3 Suppl 1):29-33.
- Venous and diabetic ulcerations: management with topical multivalent silver oxide ointment, Belcaro G, Cesarone MR, Errichi BM, Ricci A, Dugall M, Pellegrini L, Ledda A, Grossi MG, Panminerva Med. 2010 Jun;52(2 Suppl 1):37-42.
- Antimicrobial effects of TiO2 and Ag2O nanoparticles against drug-resistant bacteria and leishmania parasites, Allahverdiyev AM, Abamor ES, Bagirova M, Rafailovich M, Future Microbiol. 2011 Aug;6(8):933-40. doi: 10.2217/FMB.11.78.
- Patents for Unworkable Devices
- It's talking about Method of curing AIDS with tetrasilver tetroxide molecular crystal devices.