WHATEVER HAPPENED TO . . .:Miracle?




Remember Nikolai Kolesnikov, the 20-year-old AIDS patient who was treated with Armenikum, the drug Armenian doctors invented last year? In an attempt to test the mystery drug Armenia was hailing as the AIDS "miracle cure," the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper sponsored Kolesnikov's treatment.


When The Moscow Times wrote about Kolesnikov's condition in November 1999, both the Russian newspaper and Armenian officials said Armenikum had significantly improved Kolesnikov's condition. However, doctors from the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in Germany, who examined Kolesnikov, came to the alarming conclusion that the drug might accelerate the effects of thevirus.


After completing his fourth course of treatment, Kolesnikov flew to Armenia for a five-day examination last month. According to David Aslanyan, a spokesman for Armenikum, Kolesnikov's illness had improved to the point that for the time being he needed no further treatment.


In the meantime, Kolesnikov, who is hiding from the media, married his long-time girlfriend, Marina, who also carries HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Marina underwent Armenikum treatment last August, and now - according to Armenian officials - the Kolesnikovs are healthy and living in Ivanovo. Both work in a local shop - Marina as a clerk, and Nikolai works on the loading dock, hauling huge sacks of sugar. They are both scheduled for another checkup within the next year, Aslanyan said.


- Tanya Mosolova