Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Double Standards

I'm constantly amazed at the Dissident ability to have double standards. On the one hand they are perfectly happy to say that Factor VIII exists, and moreover that the methods used to isolate and characterise it are valid. On the other hand they then start spouting pseudoscience (like factor VIII is a foreign protein!!! It's human and genetically conserved!) and then that the standards of HIV genetics and proteomics are insufficient.


Sunday, December 19, 2004

Liam Scheff Sadly misleads

Liam Scheff would do well to actually educate himself on HIV and AIDS. He was on a radio broadcast this afternoon, which I had the misfortune to turn into.

It made me physically sick to hear him.

Talking about the HIVNET 012 Ugandan study on Nevirapine, he firstly said that treating HIV transmission at the time of birth was wrong because mother and fetus have shared blood for 9 months. This is simply ludicrous, since the placenta acts as a specific barrier to PREVENT blood from mixing. HIV transmission during pregnancy is unusual, since most infections occur at the time of birth when the infant travels through the birth canal. This is why C-sections prevent infection!

He also said that pregnancy can produce false positive HIV infections, but made it sound as if every pregnancy did this, instead of the 1.6% normally quoted (and more recent studies have put it well under 1%). He stated that the maternal diagnoses in the study were made using ELISA, when in fact they used the full diagnostic test with confirmatory Western Blot. He also said that the kids were diagnosed using an unapproved RNA test, when in fact several tests are used routinely for diagnosis in neonates. The children in that particular study were in addition subject to very stringent diagnostic tests including multiple RNA tests, virus culture, and serology at 18 months of age.

All of this is stated in the study protocol which he either hasn't read or chose to ignore. I rather think he's just ignorant on the whole thing.

Sadly I wasn't in a position to listen to the whole show or phone in, but I did write. What concerns me is that laymen will have listened to this and may very well believe it. One of the hazards of free speech, especially in this situation, is that there is no personal backlash for lying.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Clinical Trial Lambasted in the UK

Informed AIDS article.

This describes the latest alleged debacle regarding a clinical trial in New York city. It's been filling the Dissident press recently, along with the Nevirapine toxicity story.

The NYC episode got airtime on the BBC in England, and the article here rather neatly summarises the problems it has. Sadly they're unlikely to sway many of the Dissidents.

I thought it worth pointing out that it's no real surprise there was so much negative spin on the story if the BBC used an AIDS dissident as a "scientific" source. Be wary of what you read...