Scientists Defend Longevity Drug

TASHKENT ~ Uzbek biochemists faced down skeptics this week of a newly developed medicine they say can fight radiation sickness and prolong human life to 100 years.

Biochemists “resented that some media outlets have defamed the researchers’ work … and described it as having no scientific value,” the pro-government website said, citing a letter received from the Uzbek Scientific Academy.

Earlier this month, the same website announced that an Uzbek biochemist had created a medicine from tortoise blood that could stimulate the immune system and fight radiation sickness.

The medicine, called Tortezin, was produced using the blood of Central Asian tortoises known for their longevity and had been safely tested on animals, the website said.

Independent website immediately made light of the news, referring to the substance as “the elixir of life.”, which is often blocked in this tightly controlled ex-Soviet republic, quoted an unnamed local scientist as saying the finding was “of no real consequence for a serious scientist.”

The Uzbek Scientific Academy’s letter insisted that Central Asian tortoises’ resistance to radioactivity was proved in the 1970s and that there was a large body of scientific research on the salubrious effects of tortoise blood.

It added that Uzbek scientists had patented a method for extracting tortoise blood with no harm to the tortoise.

“We consider … Tortezin to be a promising scientific development, though its effectiveness can be proved only after clinical testing, which is forthcoming,” the letter said.

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