IS OUR ANALYSIS OF THE ZAGURY PAPER 31 August 2004
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Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos,
Biophysicist
Department of Medical Physics, Royal Perth Hospital, Western Australia, 6001,
Valendar F Turner, John Papadimitriou, Barry Page, David Causer, Helman Alfonso, Sam Mhlongo, Todd Miller, Christian Fiala

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Re: IS OUR ANALYSIS OF THE ZAGURY PAPER

IS OUR ANALYSIS OF THE ZAGURY PAPER CORRECT?

In his rapid response: "Where are the proper controls in "HIV" research", 28 July, Christopher Noble wrote: "In a bizarre display of Denialist literature reading the Perth Group then cited this paper: Science. 1986 Feb 21;231(4740):850-3. Where for instance table 3 shows an uninfected T-cell control culture that shows no RT activity before and after PHA activation.

The text accompanying table 5 states: Uninfected HUT-78 and JM cells do not express any RT activity in the culture supernatant before of after stimulation with PHA.

The repeated Denialist claim that control cultures are not stimulated is false. HUT-78 does not produce HIV "phenomena" with or without PHA stimulation unless it is infected with HIV. The fact that the Perth Group themselves cited this reference makes it hard to believe that this mistake is due to ignorance.

This should be the last time the Perth Group ever try to claim this. An honourable person would admit that they have been in error."

In his rapid response: "Re: The cell lines HUT102 and HUT78", 17 August, Christopher Noble wrote: "The Perth Group have previously claimed that control cultures in HIV research are not stimulated.

The Perth Group then cited a paper Science. 1986 Feb 21;231(4740):850-3 which includes several control cultures (not infected with HIV) that are stimulated.

I then said "An honourable person would admit that they have been in error"

The Perth Group have chosen not to admit to any errors despite the evidence that contradicts their claims. They have chosen to deny the evidence.

Let us look at the evidence again.

Table 2

T-cells from normal donors were cultured with and without PHA stimulation. No RT activity (<1 x 10 3 cpm/ml) was seen in the uninfected control cultures with or without PHA stimulation. However when the culture was infected in-vitro with HIV and then stimulated with PHA a measurable RT activity of 46x103 cpm/ml was recorded.

Table 3

T-cell cultures showed increased cell death after infection with HIV.

Could the Perth Group please explain these results without simply denying their existence."

Our answers can be found in our rapid responses of the 17th August.

In his subsequent answer (The politics of AIDS in South Africa: beyond the controversies", 19 August) Christopher Noble made only a political commentary and yet again tried to sidetrack the debate.

We have argued that in the Zagury, Gallo et al paper: (a) there are no proper controls; (b) there is no evidence that HIV causes "cell death"; (c) there is evidence that for the decrease of T4 cells, either in vitro cultures or in AIDS patients, that is, for acquired immune deficiency (AID), "HIV" is neither necessary nor sufficient.

Why has Christopher Noble failed to answer us?

Competing interests: None declared