December 9, 2008
Top Scientists Ask Medical Journal Science To Retract Original AIDS Papers
[see: [2008 Dec] Letter To: Bruce Alberts, Editor in Chief, Science]
SAN FRANCISCO (Rethinking AIDS) Dec. 9, 2008—The international nonprofit scientific organization Rethinking AIDS gave its full support today to 37 senior researchers, medical doctors and legal professionals who are requesting that the medical journal Science withdraw four seminal papers on HIV authored by Dr. Robert Gallo—papers widely touted as proof that HIV is the "probable cause of AIDS." An online posting of the letter can be found here.
"With new findings that undermine the scientific integrity and veracity of Gallo's four papers, the entire basis of the theory that HIV causes AIDS may now be questioned," says Rethinking AIDS president David Crowe.
The letter to the journal comes at a time when the microbiology world is abuzz about Gallo's omission from the 2008 Nobel Prize in medicine for the discovery of HIV, contrary to an international agreement that the two teams should share credit. French scientists Drs. Luc Montagnier and Francoise Barré-Sinoussi are instead to be given the award, a decision that also implicitly questions the scientific integrity of Gallo's claim of the discovery. Montagnier, however, admitted on camera more than a decade ago that his experiments did not purify any virus.
The four papers were originally published on May 4, 1984, a few days after a press conference by Gallo announcing he had discovered the "probable cause of AIDS." Now, a British investigative journalist has shown that Gallo's claim was based on last-minute alterations to documents that make false claims about the results of his lab work and research experiments. The letter to Science sent by the 37 experts on Monday, Dec. 1, 2008, includes a copy of Gallo’s handwritten changes to the article, a letter from an electron microscopy expert indicating that Gallo’s samples did not contain any virus, and a letter from Gallo to a researcher verifying that HIV could not be purified directly from human materials.
The investigative conclusion prompting the letter to Science was made by journalist Janine Roberts, author of Fear of the Invisible, a book that examines the origin of several disease theories. "I was shocked when I read the original draft of the key scientific paper now widely cited as proving HIV causes AIDS," says Roberts. "Gallo's handwritten last-minute changes had reversed what the scientists in his lab had originally concluded. This demonstrates a stunning disregard for the scientific process and a very disturbing breach of public trust."
It is clear that the seminal research published on HIV contained unjustified claims and alterations. In 1993, governmental investigators determined Gallo had so poorly recorded his key and much-cited experiment that it was impossible to repeat and verify it.
In the early 1990s, several highly critical reports on the research underlying Gallo's papers were produced as a result of governmental inquiries working under the supervision of scientists nominated by the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine. The Office of Research Integrity (ORI) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services concluded that the lead paper of the four was "fraught with false and erroneous statements" and that the “ORI believes that the careless and unacceptable keeping of research records . . . reflects irresponsible laboratory management that has permanently impaired the ability to retrace the important steps taken." Further, a Congressional Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations produced a staff report on the papers, containing scathing criticisms of their integrity.
Rethinking AIDS — an international group of more than 2,600 scientists, doctors, journalists, health advocates and others — offers several eminent medical and scientific experts to comment on this and other AIDS issues currently in the news:
Etienne de Harven, M.D.*
Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto
Saint Cézaire, France
Member and professor in cell biology, Sloan Kettering Institute, New York, 1956-1981. Isolated and obtained the first electron microscopic studies of the murine Friend leukemia virus, and retroviral budding. Frequent critic of the "isolation" of HIV, and past president of Rethinking AIDS. Dr. de Harven can comment on the science of retrovirus isolation.
Author, Fear of the Invisible, a recent book exposing the fraud in the drafting of one of the original 1984 Science articles by Robert Gallo.
Web site: www.fearoftheinvisible.com
President, Rethinking AIDS
Calgary, Alberta, Canada (Mountain time zone)
Public Relations Chairperson
Brooklyn, N.Y., U.S. (Eastern time zone)
*Rethinking AIDS board member.
Rethinking AIDS: The Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis ("RA" or "the Group") was formed in 1991 to express the concerns of a growing number of renowned scientists and medical doctors about HIV research and the resulting human rights abuses. In 1995, by a letter published in Science, the Group called for a thorough reappraisal of the existing evidence for and against the HIV/AIDS hypothesis and recommended that critical epidemiological studies be undertaken.
Among RA's founders and key members are University of Toronto professor emeritus and former cancer researcher Dr. Etienne de Harven; Harvard microbiologist Dr. Charles Thomas; 1993 Nobel laureate for chemistry Dr. Kary Mullis; Nature/Biotechnology co-founder Dr. Harvey Bialy; University of California at Berkeley molecular biologist Dr. Peter Duesberg and the late Yale mathematician Dr. Serge Lang, both members of the National Academy of Sciences; physicist Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos of the Royal Perth Hospital in Australia; and Glasgow University professor emeritus of public health and World Health Organization consultant Dr. Gordon Stewart.