What are appropriate methodologies in retrovirology? 13 July 2004
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Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos,
Department of Medical Physics, Royal Perth Hospital, Western Australia, 6001,
Valendar F Turner, John Papadimitriou, Barry Page, David

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Re: What are appropriate methodologies in retrovirology?

What are appropriate methodologies in retrovirology?


In his rapid response "Re: Retrovirologists, retroviruses and purification" (July 2nd) Brian Foley wrote: 

"The Perth group wrote:
As in any other branch of science, in retrovirology there are scientific principles and methods and rules under which retrovirology is practised. According to one of them, which is nothing more than commonsense, to claim that a protein is a retroviral protein or a fragment of RNA is the genome of a retrovirus, evidence must exist that the protein or RNA originated from viral particles.

This is true, and everyone agrees with it. Where we disagree, is the exact methods by which one “proves” that the proteins are derived from viral particles".


Would Brian Foley please tell us what method he is going to use to prove the existence of a new retrovirus, its genome and proteins?


Brian Foley wrote:  "The Perth Group wrote:  "To claim that some of the proteins in the "purified" preparations were HIV proteins and some of the RNA, "HIV" RNA ("HIV genome"), defies not only scientific reasoning but commonsense.


No.  You are wrong.  Just because you fail to understand molecular biology, does not mean that it is not understandable".


The sentence which Brian Foley quotes from our rapid responses "Retrovirologists, retroviruses and purification" was preceded by the following:  "We would never have imagined that a preparation which contained no retrovirus-like particles or which was "purified vesicles" (as Gluschankoff et al call their preparation) would be claimed and accepted, as being "purified" "HIV".


Would Brian Foley please tell us how, by using "molecular biology", he will prove the existence of "HIV" proteins and "HIV" RNA ("HIV" genome) in a preparation which has no particles with the morphological characteristics of retroviruses or in "purified vesicles"?

Competing interests: None declared