Re: Perth Group Responses to Christopher Noble 27 November 2003
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Christopher J Noble,
postdoctoral fellow
Bern Switzerland

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Re: Re: Perth Group Responses to Christopher Noble

Once again the 'Perth Group' have responded with an inordinate number of words but no answers.

The 'Perth Group' write: "To date we have left none of Christopher Noble's questions unanswered. The only way to prove a correlation between the antibody test and the PCR is to perform blind controlled studies. As far as we know, only one such study has been published to date."

Both of these statements are untrue.

You have previously cited several times a meta-analysis of the use of PCR in the diagnosis of HIV infection. (1) This metastudy included a total of 96 studies. Of these 11 studies (rated 3 or 4: see table 1) were found to have used blinding for both the PCR assays and reference tests. The investigators in these studies were blinded to all other tests and clinical information. The specificity of PCR for the diagnosis of HIV infection in these studies was found to be between 95 and 100%.

I have asked you several times to explain these results considering your assertion that both antibody tests and PCR tests for HIV are completely non-specific. Contrary to your assertion you have never answered this question.

I remind people reading this that this is an unreviewed forum. The 'articles' posted here by the Perth Group are not checked for accuracy or veracity. The BMJ has allowed the Perth Group to publish blatant lies.

(1) Owens DK, Holodniy M, Garber AM, Scott J, Sonnad S, Moses L, et al. Polymerase chain reaction for the diagnosis of HIV infection in adults. A meta-analysis with recommendations for clinical practice and study design. Ann Int Med 1996;124(9):803-15

Competing interests: None declared