To the Editors of the New York Times:
As a member of the group of scientists sarcastically referred to as denialists in the June 4th Op-Ed piece Deadly quackery by John Moore and Nicoli Nattrass, I feel I must respond, the New York Times having the responsibility to give equal space to my reply.
Publication Portion of Letter
John Moore and Nicoli Nattrass claim that it is certain that HIV causes AIDS. I disagree and request them to explain how can it be that, after more than 20 years of extensive research based on this hypothesis, we still have no cure, no vaccine and no verifiable epidemiological predictions. They should also explain why retroviral particles have never been demonstrated by electron microscopy in the blood of patients supposedly having a high viral load.
I agree with Dr. Manto Tshabalala-Msimang when she classifies AZT as a poison. Dr. Jerome Horwitz, who invented AZT in 1964, shelved research on it because all the mice he treated died from its extreme toxicity. Note that the sudden rise in mortality of HIV seropositive hemophilacs in the UK occurred in 1986-1987 when high dosages of AZT started to be administered.
We do not accept HIV research as solid science because it is primarily based on the use of molecular HIV markers, the specificity of which has never been established due to the failure to purify HIV, a failure specifically acknowledged by Prof. Luc Montagnier himself in 1996.
We cannot accept that there are no alternative, non-viral causes of acquired human immuno-deficiencies because we know that research on alternatives has never received the slightest research funding.
I was disappointed to find pejoratives such as quackery and denialist, in a prestigious publication like the New York Times, words that have no place in a scientific debate.
I currently serve as President of The Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis, and can certify that members of that Group never questioned the alarming emergence of AIDS since the early 1980s. None of us has ever denied the severity of this apparently new syndrome and the urgency to prevent and treat it. We are HIV Rethinkers. To characterize members of our Group as AIDS denialists amounts to malicious misinformation, not worthy of your publication.
Etienne de Harven, MD
former Professor of Cell biology at Cornell University Medical College, NY
Emeritus Prof. (Pathology), University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Currently President of The Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis.