Re: No scientific evidence no scientific debate 17 December 2004
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Nicholas Bennett,
Infectious Disease Postdoc/Clinician
Department of Pediatrics, University Hospital, Syracuse, NY

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Re: Re: No scientific evidence no scientific debate

The Perth Group's latest hints yet again at things that simply aren't true, or only half-true.

The simple facts are that the antibody tests are indicative of HIV infection as judged by PCR and culture, at levels of correlation in excess of many other pathogens (i.e. 95-100% depending on particular reports, with the limitations being usually technical rather than due to a lack of association). The fact that the antibodies bind to HIV antigens and correlate and adapt to mutations is enough for most people to conclude that they are antibodies against HIV - aside from rare cross-reactions, evolution and somatic hypermutation tell us that is how things are. That's what antibodies do... If it were otherwise we'd all be taken down by a sea of Type I diabetes, Graves, Rheumatoid, Myesthenia Gravis...

The Perth Group might find it interesting to know that indeed Asthma is diagnosed on the basis of reversibility of signs and symptoms from bronchodilators and/or steroids.

I have taken the time to read the literature, and come to opposite conclusions from the Perth Group. Since the Perth Group have been repeatedly shown to have ommitted or misrepresented much of the evidence base in order to draw their conclusions, my impression is that their conclusions are therefore flawed.

They are right in that this debate is not for the sake of debating, because the truth as shown by the scientific evidence base says there should be no debate whatsoever!

I have answered the two questions previously: that HIV drops CD4 counts and causes the immune-suppression that allows a commensal organism to cause pneumonia (PCP). This is all in the long-term cohort studies prior to or bridging the introduction of antiviral therapy. Data from the 1990's involving T cell restoration and turnover rates in normal people, HIV-infected and those treated with HAART would convince most reasonable critics. The debate over the last year or more has covered all this and more: various parties have refused to accept the evidence base (or the fundamental basis of the science), which is their choice, but it makes little or no scientific sense.

Nick Bennett njb35@cantab.net

Competing interests: None declared