One simple question for the Perth Group - 2 7 June 2004
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Christopher J Noble,

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Re: One simple question for the Perth Group - 2

The Perth Group wrote : We are amazed that people like Christopher Noble take what we quote from other scientists' papers and ascribe them as being our "invention". That is, ascribe to us formulations ("rules") that other scientists have formulated. We have repeatedly pointed out this fallacy in this debate."

The Perth Group seem to be constantly amazed. They also seem to have major problems accurately reporting what other people say. They have done this repeatedly in this "debate". They have repeatedly misrepresented what I have said and they have repeatedly misreported other scientists ie. "At least Montagnier in his 1997 interview to Djamel Tahi admitted that he had not isolated HIV and in his view neither had Gallo."

Montagnier never states that he had not isolated HIV on the contrary he directly states that he did.

The Perth Group have repeatedly written about a set of rules for the isolation of retroviruses. ie.

The rules of retrovirus isolation are now old. All the HIV experts should know them. They were developed in the several decades preceding the beginning of the AIDS era in 1981 and were thoroughly discussed at a meeting held at the Pasteur Institute in 1973 and attended by now leading HIV/AIDS researchers including Barre-Sinoussi and Chermann. These are a set of rules which credibly achieve the aim of separateness.

In contrast to the Perth Group claims nobody, in particular Barre-Sinoussi and Chermann, knows anything about these "rules". My problem is not with the papers that the Perth Group cites but the Perth Group interpretation of these papers.

The Perth Group wrote: We have never presented an example of purified virus with evidence that it consisted of "a mixture of three or more viruses".

In the Spectra paper the Perth Group cite it is clearly stated: "It is known that stocks of MSV consist of at least two different viral particles, murine leukemia viruses (MLV) and defective murine sarcoma virions (MSV) (12). Recently, the existence of a third component, consisting of competent murine sarcoma virus has been postulated (13)."

Remember, this is the paper that the Perth Group are citing as the source for the "rules of retrovirus isolation". Either the Perth Group have not read the papers they have been citing for years or they are deliberately attempting to deceive their audience.

The papers that the Perth Group cite all describe the concentration (or purification, but not 100%) of viral particles in sucrose density gradients. What they do not describe is a set of rules which must be followed in order to prove the existence of a retrovirus. Most importantly, nowhere do they state that it is critical that a 100% pure preparation of viral particles must be obtained in order to demonstrate the existence of a retrovirus. This criterion is a Perth Group invention.

I am still waiting for the Perth Group to produce references that describe in plain words ALL of the criteria that the Perth Group espouse as the rules for the isolation of retroviruses.

Why don't any other scientists know about these rules? Why don't they refer to these rules in their papers? Why don't they cite the papers that the Perth Group say contain the rules?

Competing interests: None declared