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Via Rethinking AIDS:
Top Scientists Ask Medical Journal Science to Retract Original AIDS Papers
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.
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Registration date : 2008-09-15
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