Damned Heretics

Condemned by the established, but very often right

I am Nicolaus Copernicus, and I approve of this blog

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Qualified outsiders and maverick insiders are often right about the need to replace received wisdom in science and society, as the history of the Nobel prize shows. This blog exists to back the best of them in their uphill assault on the massively entrenched edifice of resistance to and prejudice against reviewing, let alone revising, ruling ideas. In support of such qualified dissenters and courageous heretics we search for scientific paradigms and other established beliefs which may be maintained only by the power and politics of the status quo, comparing them with academic research and the published experimental and investigative record.

We especially defend and support the funding of honest, accomplished, independent minded and often heroic scientists, inventors and other original thinkers and their right to free speech and publication against the censorship, mudslinging, false arguments, ad hominem propaganda, overwhelming crowd prejudice and internal science politics of the paradigm wars of cancer, AIDS, evolution, global warming, cosmology, particle physics, macroeconomics, health and medicine, diet and nutrition.

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Many people would die rather than think – in fact, they do so. – Bertrand Russell.

Skepticism is dangerous. That’s exactly its function, in my view. It is the business of skepticism to be dangerous. And that’s why there is a great reluctance to teach it in schools. That’s why you don’t find a general fluency in skepticism in the media. On the other hand, how will we negotiate a very perilous future if we don’t have the elementary intellectual tools to ask searching questions of those nominally in charge, especially in a democracy? – Carl Sagan (The Burden of Skepticism, keynote address to CSICOP Annual Conference, Pasadena, April 3/4, 1982).

It is really important to underscore that everything we’re talking about tonight could be utter nonsense. – Brian Greene (NYU panel on Hidden Dimensions June 5 2010, World Science Festival)

I am Albert Einstein, and I heartily approve of this blog, insofar as it seems to believe both in science and the importance of intellectual imagination, uncompromised by out of date emotions such as the impulse toward conventional religious beliefs, national aggression as a part of patriotism, and so on.   As I once remarked, the further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.   Certainly the application of the impulse toward blind faith in science whereby authority is treated as some kind of church is to be deplored.  As I have also said, the only thing ever interfered with my learning was my education. My name as you already perceive without a doubt is George Bernard Shaw, and I certainly approve of this blog, in that its guiding spirit appears to be blasphemous in regard to the High Church doctrines of science, and it flouts the censorship of the powers that be, and as I have famously remarked, all great truths begin as blasphemy, and the first duty of the truthteller is to fight censorship, and while I notice that its seriousness of purpose is often alleviated by a satirical irony which sometimes borders on the facetious, this is all to the good, for as I have also famously remarked, if you wish to be a dissenter, make certain that you frame your ideas in jest, otherwise they will seek to kill you.  My own method was always to take the utmost trouble to find the right thing to say, and then to say it with the utmost levity. (Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt for Life magazine) One should as a rule respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny, and is likely to interfere with happiness in all kinds of ways. – Bertrand Russell, Conquest of Happiness (1930) ch. 9

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The world prematurely accused of ignoring the vital goal of an AIDS vaccine

The urgent need to fund the search for an AIDS vaccine at much greater expense than hitherto is being somehow overlooked, according to the UN Secretary General’s special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa speaking to scientists at the AIDS Vaccine International Conference in Montreal yesterday (Sept 8 Thu).

Stephen Lewis said he couldn’t explain this oversight, given the dire threat which looms over the planet.


Lewis said he can’t explain the lack of enthusiasm for the research in Canada and other developed nations.

“I don’t think the world yet realizes the carnage that is to come,” Lewis said. “I don’t think the world yet realizes the full, incomparable horror of AIDS, and its inexorable spread around the planet.”

(The full clip if you wish to read it is as follows)

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Friday, September 9, 2005

Search for AIDS vaccine at risk due to lack of interest and funding: Lewis

Canadian Press

September 8, 2005

MONTREAL (CP) – The pursuit of a vaccination against AIDS is dying due to lack of funds and global commitment, according to the Canadian who is the United Nations point man on the fight against the deadly disease in Africa.

In a Tuesday evening speech to scientific researchers who are chasing a vaccine for AIDS, Stephen Lewis said the quest for a vaccine received $640 million US in funding in 2004, about half of the amount that should be dedicated to the research.

The UN Secretary General’s special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa pointed to recent high-level meetings on AIDS prevention where scant mention was made of the search for a vaccine.

“Your pursuit is in jeopardy,” Lewis said in prepared remarks to researchers at the AIDS Vaccine International Conference.

“Your collective voices must be heard on the funding dimensions of a vaccine. It can’t be left solely to activists. You’re the influential professionals. You should give no quarter. The world depends on it.”

Lewis was speaking at a conference organized by the Canadian Network for Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics – a network of researchers working on clinical trials for a vaccine for AIDS and SARS. The federal government last summer pulled $34 million in funding towards the clinical trials.

Seven vaccines developed by the Canadian researchers were ready for clinical trials next year, according to the organization.

Lewis said he can’t explain the lack of enthusiasm for the research in Canada and other developed nations.

“I don’t think the world yet realizes the carnage that is to come,” Lewis said. “I don’t think the world yet realizes the full, incomparable horror of AIDS, and its inexorable spread around the planet.”

Lewis urged the scientists to emerge from their laboratories to become champions for the cause.

“The world desperately needs your voices,” he said.

© The Canadian Press 2005

Perhaps Mr. Lewis would have felt better if he had attended the invitation-only meeting at the New York Academy of Sciences a couple of months ago.

Here the top names in the AIDS vaccine effort gathered with a few close and simpatico colleagues to talk about the ongoing scientific progress and the approximate date of expected success in this urgent endeavor.

The presentations by the renowned David Ho, the short but extremely charming hero of AIDS research into protease inhibitiors who found himself on Time’s cover in the late nineties for his pioneering of this supposedly effective anti-HIV regimen, and others of his ilk revealed the answers to these questions.

First, progress was nil. Secondly, it was unlikely to amount to anything in the foreseeable future ie at least a decade if not two. Thirdly, however, the vital importance of increasing the funding devoted to this line of work could not be overlooked.

Apparently boosted by the third or monetary factor and its prospect of success, and not the first two and the prediction of continual failure, the atmosphere of bonhomie generated during the meeting reached a climax in the gathering afterwards in an adjoining room, where drinks were served.

Certainly today it seems clear that their confidence is justified and anything to do with vaccines, even something as logically haywire as an AIDS vaccine, is likely to be well funded in the future. Vaccines are viewed as the profit wave of the future by the pharmaceutical companies, and they are being fully backed by the Western governments that are increasingly their partners in this global enterprise.

Only the other day (Sep 7) Glaxo announced it will buy a Canadian vaccine maker for $1.4 billion.


Hoping to become a major supplier of flu shots to the United States, GlaxoSmithKline said yesterday that it would pay $1.4 billion to acquire ID Biomedical, a Canadian vaccine maker.

The deal comes a week after Novartis offered $4.5 billion for the 58 percent of Chiron it does not already own, which would put Novartis in the vaccine business. So far, Chiron has rejected that offer as too low.

The takeover activity could reflect a change of perception among pharmaceutical companies, many of which have long regarded vaccines as an unattractive business.

“You’re seeing the big pharma companies recognizing the value of the vaccine business,” Anthony F. Holler, chief executive of ID Biomedical, said in an interview.

(Here is the full Times report:)

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The New York Times

September 8, 2005

Glaxo to Acquire Canadian Vaccine Maker for $1.4 Billion

By ANDREW POLLACK

Hoping to become a major supplier of flu shots to the United States, GlaxoSmithKline said yesterday that it would pay $1.4 billion to acquire ID Biomedical, a Canadian vaccine maker.

The deal comes a week after Novartis offered $4.5 billion for the 58 percent of Chiron it does not already own, which would put Novartis in the vaccine business. So far, Chiron has rejected that offer as too low.

The takeover activity could reflect a change of perception among pharmaceutical companies, many of which have long regarded vaccines as an unattractive business.

“You’re seeing the big pharma companies recognizing the value of the vaccine business,” Anthony F. Holler, chief executive of ID Biomedical, said in an interview.

The flu vaccine business in particular seems to have become more attractive as shortages have lifted prices and concern has grown about a possible pandemic stemming from bird flu.

Last year the United States experienced a severe shortage of flu shots when Chiron’s factory in Liverpool, England, was shut down because of sanitary problems. Since Chiron was one of only two major suppliers, the shutdown deprived the United States of about half the expected supply of 100 million doses.

The supply outlook for this winter is still somewhat uncertain and will depend on how many doses Chiron can deliver.

In response to the shortage and federal efforts to recruit new suppliers, both GlaxoSmithKline and ID Biomedical had already been moving to enter the American market.

Glaxo, which already sells flu vaccine in dozens of countries, won United States approval last week but will sell only about eight million doses in this country this year because of capacity constraints at its factory in Dresden, Germany. Some of Glaxo’s vaccine was used on an emergency basis in this country last year.

ID Biomedical has been aiming for United States approval next year.

David Stout, president of pharmaceutical operations at Glaxo, said the acquisition “gives us immediate access to some capacity, state-of-the-art facilities, and product that is close to approval in the U.S.” He said owning the ID Biomedical factory would also allow Glaxo to produce bird flu vaccine, if necessary, for a possible pandemic.

Glaxo’s takeover of ID Biomedical would reduce the number of potential vaccine suppliers by one. The deal, however, and the possible acquisition of Chiron by Novartis, would put the American supply into the hands of financially stronger companies. The leading supplier of flu shots to the United States is Sanofi-Aventis.

Glaxo has said it planned to more than double the capacity at its German factory to 80 million doses by 2008. ID Biomedical, which now sells about 8 million doses a year to the Canadian government, is expanding capacity to about 70 million doses by 2007, with much of that output destined for the United States.

In an all-cash deal Glaxo has agreed to pay 35 Canadian dollars a share, or about $29.50. ID shares rose $3.46, to $29.46 yesterday.

The agreement does not preclude another company from making a higher offer, but Glaxo would have the right to match such an offer.

Biotech Monthly, an investment newsletter, said ID, which is based in Vancouver, was getting far less, relative to sales, than Novartis offered for Chiron. But Geoffrey C. Porges, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Company, disagreed, saying the relatively higher price offered for ID would pressure Novartis to raise its offer for Chiron.

* Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

Then we have the plan announced yesterday by four European nations to raise $4 billion on the bond market to enable drug companies to vaccinate the world’s poor children.


The new funds would roughly double the resources of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, an umbrella group of countries, international organizations, vaccine industry representatives and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

(Here is the Times story by Celia Dugger:)

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The New York Times

September 9, 2005

Billions for Vaccines for the Poor to Be Raised in Bond Markets

By CELIA W. DUGGER

WASHINGTON, Sept. 8 – Britain, France, Spain, Italy and Sweden will announce an agreement on Friday to raise almost $4 billion on the bond markets for an enormously expanded use of vaccines across the developing world. The World Health Organization estimates this undertaking will save the lives of five million children over the next decade.

Commitments from some of the participating nations have been secured only in recent days.

The new funds would roughly double the resources of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, an umbrella group of countries, international organizations, vaccine industry representatives and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Over the past five years, the alliance has financed the immunization of 78 million children and prevented more than a million child deaths, the health organization estimates.

The alliance’s board has already approved ambitious programs for 2006 to expand measles coverage in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, as well as to help eradicate polio worldwide and increase the use of maternal and neonatal tetanus vaccines. These plans can go forward now that the new financing has been secured.

“We hope this pilot will demonstrate the feasibility and the power of this financing mechanism, and we look to gain more support from more countries,” said Paul Kissack, a spokesman for the British treasury.

The United States has declined to join the vaccine plan. Bush administration officials could not be reached for comment Thursday night, but said earlier this year that the long-term commitment to raise money through the bond market is not consistent with the annual appropriations process in Congress. The United States provides $60 million to $70 million a year to the alliance.

“We hope if this process is successful that the United States will reconsider its position,” said Dr. Julian Lob-Levyt, the vaccine alliance’s executive secretary.

British officials have said they hope the new resources will help the world reach the goal adopted unanimously five years ago at the United Nations to reduce child deaths by two-thirds by 2015. More than 170 government leaders will gather in New York next week to assess progress in meeting the antipoverty objectives they set in 2000.

The pact marks the first time rich nations have used pledges of increased aid to back government bonds as a means of financing a major development program. This so-called international finance facility is the brainchild of Gordon Brown, Britain’s chancellor of the exchequer.

Under the plan, income from the sale of the bonds would be provided to the global vaccine alliance to pay for vaccinations over a period of 10 years. The five participating nations would pay off the bonds over 20 years. The two largest donors are Britain, which has pledged to cover 35 percent of the cost, and France, which is covering a quarter.

The money will be used to purchase vaccines and bicycles to transport them, as well as to rehabilitate health clinics and pay health workers to do the immunizing in remote areas. Leaders of the alliance hope the vaccine plan will strengthen basic health services in poor countries, not just immunization efforts.

Yesterday, also, we had the front page story of the New York Times helpfully (for the cause of drumming up business for vaccines in general) telling us that it is for lack of a vaccine that a dreadful virus (Japanese encephalitis) is ravaging India’s poor, accompanied by a vivid picture of a wide eyed victim all skin and bones.


All were victims of the viral disease known as Japanese encephalitis, which causes high fever, aches, eventual coma and often death. It has struck this region with a particular fury this year, shining a harsh light on India’s inability to halt an entirely preventable disease that has killed or stunted some of its most vulnerable citizens for the last quarter-century – the young rural poor.

The director general of the state government’s health department said Wednesday that since July 1 the death toll had reached nearly 500, and those were only cases reported to government hospitals across the state. Reuters on Wednesday gave a figure of 600.

(Here is the full Times story by Somini Sengupta:)

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The New York Times

September 8, 2005

Virus Ravaging India’s Poor Stirs Call for Counterattack

By SOMINI SENGUPTA

LUCKNOW, India, Sept. 7 – Government ministers descended on this storied North Indian state capital on Wednesday to kick off an ambitious rural health initiative. The city’s roads were freshly tarred, and banners hung along the main boulevard to welcome its chief guest: former President Bill Clinton.

But across town in a government hospital ward with paint peeling off its walls lay small children clinging to life. One, in her father’s arms, could barely swallow spoonfuls of milk. Another had been unconscious for 10 days. A third could not breathe on his own.

All were victims of the viral disease known as Japanese encephalitis, which causes high fever, aches, eventual coma and often death. It has struck this region with a particular fury this year, shining a harsh light on India’s inability to halt an entirely preventable disease that has killed or stunted some of its most vulnerable citizens for the last quarter-century – the young rural poor.

The director general of the state government’s health department said Wednesday that since July 1 the death toll had reached nearly 500, and those were only cases reported to government hospitals across the state. Reuters on Wednesday gave a figure of 600.

More than 1,500 suspected cases of Japanese encephalitis have been reported so far, according to the state.

And while the number of suspected cases is considerably higher than in past years – five times as high as the counts in the last few years at the King George Medical University hospital here, for instance – critics said that the rise should be no surprise to government health officials and that the misery inflicted could have been significantly reduced.

This year, only 200,000 of the 7 million children who needed to be immunized in high-risk areas of Uttar Pradesh were vaccinated, and other ways of preventing its spread – keeping pigs, which harbor the virus, at a safe distance from people, and spraying against mosquitoes, which ferry it to humans – were apparently inadequately pursued.

“There is gross apathy of the government,” said T. N. Dhole, a professor of microbiology at the Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences here, fresh from a tour of some of the most badly affected district hospitals. “You could have reduced mortality if you had done a little homework before.”

Even as the rural health initiative begins, the United Nations released its annual human development report on Wednesday, showing unsettling rates of infant mortality in this country.

For every 1,000 Indian children, 63 die, according to the report, a rate worse than neighboring and far poorer Bangladesh. Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous province, is one of the four Indian states with the worst rates of infant mortality.

Over all, India spends less than 1 percent of its gross domestic product on public health; the government has pledged to increase that share.

The encephalitis virus grows in wading birds as well as pigs; children are often the mosquitoes’ main victims.

Approved vaccines are in short supply worldwide, though another vaccine, derived from the cells of hamster kidneys, is widely available but yet to be approved by the World Health Organization. India says it plans to conduct clinical test trials of that vaccine, but that will not happen in time to help the children who need it now.

In Uttar Pradesh, the central government health minister, Dr. Ambubani Ramadoss, said in an interview here on Wednesday that he would encourage state health officials to mount a more aggressive spraying operation. State health officials have said health department staff members and vehicles, which could have been deployed to spray high-risk areas and monitor Japanese encephalitis, were deployed for local election duty in July and August – the crucial mosquito-breeding months.

Pigs are reared primarily by the caste groups, mostly poor and landless, who make up an important source of votes for the state’s ruling party. “Some political problems,” is how the state’s director general of health and medicine, O. P. Singh, put it. “They will try to separate next year.”

He was cheerful about the challenge. Next year, he said, the government would procure additional vaccines. “We will get vaccinations,” he said. “We will do it.”

In Gorakhpur, the eastern Uttar Pradesh epicenter of the epidemic, not a single corner of the three encephalitis wards in the local government hospital was free of misery and stink. Children were hooked up to nasal feeding tubes and oxygen tanks, and distraught parents camped out on the floor. In most beds, two children had been squeezed in. Additional beds spilled out into the hallways. Medical personnel have poured in from outlying areas to help.

On Wednesday alone, 30 new patients were wheeled in.

Dr. Ramadoss said it was primarily the state government’s responsibility to stop the epidemic. Then he corrected himself. “It’s a collective responsibility but implementation is for the state,” he said. “The state government has to be more proactive.”

Dr. Ramadoss pointed out that India was now a destination for medical tourism, its private clinics drawing foreigners seeking medical treatment.

By the time children arrived at the hospital at King George Medical University, they were either unconscious or suffering from seizures, or had lost some of their motor skills. Parents said they had watched their children deteriorate as they went from village doctor to local hospital to here.

As a rule, rural hospitals in this country are in short supply of oxygen, medicine and qualified staff.

“If you caught a child early on and gave him supportive treatment, yes, you would save some children,” said Rashmi Kumar, a pediatrician at the hospital. Of the six children who were in one of the encephalitis wards, she found it hard to say how many would survive.

The one ray of hope was Brijesh, 6, who had stood on his own and, holding his father’s fingers, walked a few steps along the hospital floor.

He was running a fever of 102 when he was admitted a week ago. He had had two seizures that very day. Before the fever gripped him, his father, Matadin, said, he would sprint across the village at the sound of a television set. Today he could barely whisper into his father’s ears. “Let’s go home,” he said.

Soon enough, Brijesh will be able walk like a normal little boy. But, the doctors say, his cognitive abilities might never fully rebound.

Hari Kumar contributed reporting from Gorakhpur for this article.

* Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

We are not here inclined to question that there is such a virus attack in India and that vaccines may help repel it, since the story gives specific symptoms, and numbers of victims, and generally enough medical facts to make sense and fit with standard medical principles. But nowadays we retain a certain wary tendency to examine such stories in detail for such factors before swallowing them whole.

The reason is our standing familiarity with the extreme professional gullibility of correspondents for the Times and other respected media outlets when they are officially informed by the medical-scientific fraternity of a new viral threat, most famously in the case of AIDS, and perhaps in the case of SARS, mad cow disease and other slightly suspect tales of the modern virus hunting mania.

“AIDS repeats its dreadful patterns across this continent.”

One perfect example of the media gullibility we have in mind in AIDS was the report last night carried by the BBC on Namibia. The correspondent was a tall, baby faced, dark haired young Englishman named Barnaby, who one must say seemed unsuitably rosy faced and well fed as he intoned his dread story of local kids orphaned by parents who have “died of AIDS”.

Handsome in khakis and a billowing blue shirt, the kind sold on Jermyn Street for more money that would feed the African children he is covering for a year, Barnaby introduces us to one of six or eight children from a family that has lost both parents to “AIDS”, and is now beset by the loss of status and social support that brings, according to a report that we assume is accurate in that respect, at least.

“Sometimes my brothers and sister cry,” says the child who can’t be more than ten or eleven, who has big brown eyes. “When they go without food at night they know something is wrong. It makes me so upset.” The camera lingers on his face as his big brown eyes turn up to the faces of his listeners and his mouth turns down in despair.

They cut to a picture of a couple of grass roofed huts while Barnaby continues, in the singsong tone of personal urgency seemingly patented by British news reporters, to tell us that “their uncle is trying to force them out to take their house. Other relatives have stolen their frming tools and animals.”

His tone turns ominous: “African society, resilent and compassionate, is cracking under the strain of this disease.”

“The good news is that fewer Namibians are catching HIV today than they were a few years ago. The bad news is that damage may have already been done and the numbers of deaths will continue to rise and rise in the years ahead so that by 2020, according to the UN, more one third of all Namibian children will be orphans.”

The image switches to a group of children sitting on the ground attended to by a woman in a red shirt, black skirt and headkerchief who feeds them what looks like blue corn mash in a bowl.

“At a nearby school a sad group of orphans are taken aside each day and given the extra food because there is none in their broken homes and without it they are two hungry to learn,. The women who cook are volunteers like Numborga who can’t bear to see a generation slipping away.

The camera lingers on the children’s face close up as they lick their fingers of the last vestiges of a portion before taking another, their big brown eyes frowning as the camera and presumably the visitors peer at them behind the bars of their social zoo.

Then we cut to the woman in the red shirt again walking straightbacked through a field of long golden grass with her bowl on her head. She is curtseyed to by an old woman who then shakes her hand with a triple grip in the manner one had assumed was invented in the US inner city.

“Walking in the afternoon Namborka takes more food to another destitute household. Marinconga is 75 years old. She should be resting in the last years of her life., Instead she is caring for ten grandchildren because most of her children are dead. She says she has sleepless nights worrying about the future, and what will happen to Mateus who is eight, or Tengi who is six, or to any of them when their grandmother goes. “

All the while the camera is lingering on the big brown eyes of the children looking glum and trapped by the predicament into which they have been plunged, socially and mentally, though one gets the impression they have not made much sense out of any of it yet. (One can sympathize – they have lost their parents to a disease which is labeled AIDS and therefore presumably is not effectively treated if treated at all, and now they are threatened with loss of all possessions and all care except charity, while simultaneously being placed on the world stage via BBC World News.)

Then the windup. Barnaby Phillips, reaching for his starkest, most sombre tone, recites his windup line with the declamatory intonation of a poet and a Cassandra: “AIDS repeats its dreadful patterns across this continent.”

But then in the twinkle of an eye he returns to the upbeat, non committal tone of a professionally objective reporter ready for his next assignment as he signs off. “Barnaby Phillips, BBC News, Northern Namibia.”

(BBC World News Broadcast of Tue Sep 13, carried on Channel 21, WLIW, New York City )

Since the mainstream scientific AIDS literature as we have shown in the last few posts shows that the fantasy of heterosexual AIDS on which this story rests is scientifically, socially and sexually impossible, one wonders exactly what the diseases are in Namibia that might singly or together be responsible for the deaths of the parents of these Namibian orphans, and whether the national death rate shows any sign of change in the last decade, or has remained more or less constant as it has in South Africa, where “AIDS” is supposedly rampant.

In other words, the first place we would look would be the total of Namibian orphans over the last years. Have they multiplied or not? And if so, what diseases would that reflect, if “AIDS” was erased from the picture as spurious, as the mainstream AIDS literature shows it must be?

Even if one can’t blame the professionally gullible Barnaby for simply following the mainstream line as far as his young human exhibits go in the story of Namibian AIDS, as it is being scripted by the ever resourceful statisticians at the UN, can one perhaps blame his editors, or at least whomever the BBC has on staff or as a consultant advising them on medical matters, for not developing a more judicious view of Africa that the constant reiteration of this picture of the continent as a medical basket case blamed on “AIDS”?

That is, assuming that the BBC has medical or scientific advisors of some kind. On the basis of this kind of fairy tale, one wonders. If they do, then clearly they are not up on their research. The whole issue and debate about the viability of the global AIDS epidemic as founded on heterosexual transmission is no secret. It has been reported in Nature Medicine (Vol 10 Number 5 May 2004) and even in the popular press (Discover Magazine Vol 24 No. 06 1 June 2003).

Perhaps they were misled by the patently absurd efforts of the man who discovered the difficulty, Pennsylvania based consultant David Gisselquist, to blame it all on dirty needles used in the African health care system, which the UN in the Lancet and angry African medical authorities have dismissed as rubbish.

With both sides in that dispute calling each other racist, it is high time for cooler heads to admit that it is the heterosexual AIDS pandemic in Africa and everywhere else that is rubbish, as the heterosexual transmission rate of 1 in 1000 that everyone agrees on shows without the need for further analysis (see earlier posts).

But of course, at this stage that would be like the Jesuits questioning the existence of God – too clever by half.

Air conditioning for igloos

And as to the potential efficacy of an AIDS vaccine, we wonder when that will be questioned by the mainstream, since the very concept, as we have pointed out in previous posts, makes no sense at all. Vaccines are designed to prime the human body with antibodies, or rev up the tendency to create antibodies rapidly, to the agent they are designed to thwart.

Yet those counted as “AIDS” patients are precisely those who test positive for HIV antibodies, not the virus, which is mostly untraceable even in those with declining immune systems unless you use a very special method called PCR (polymerase chain reaction) which can infinitely multiply the few residual molecules present.

In other words, the vaccine hunters, anxious to help “AIDS patients” fight off HIV, are trying in sophisticated ways to develop some way of vaccinating them to create HIV antibodies, when all the patients harbor in their blood is HIV antibodies, and quite enough of them.

This is rather like trying to work out how to get a shipload of ice through to the North Pole.

Small wonder that every year or two we hear of investor hopes being dashed as one vaccine initiative after another proves a cul-de-sac.

One has to question if the brains of all those involved in this absurd initiative have stopped working altogether. After all, supposing one did succeed in developing a vaccine that provoked the human body to produce antibodies to HIV. This is only what HIV itself would do if injected into the body, so why not do it directly? Just inject people with HIV. This would ensure that after six weeks they would have a plentiful supply of antibodies and a virtually untraceable residue of HIV (the scientific literature shows that there would be one active HIV per 10,000 human T cells, the immune system cells it supposedly destroys in some manner than has not yet been discovered even after two decades).

Well, one might answer, that negligible amount of HIV is the deadly agent that one must avoid at all costs, so an artificial method of creating the antibodies to it would be preferable.

Fine. But one would still end up with patients all of whom would “test positive for HIV”, since the HIV tests of both kinds are for the presence of antibodies, not the HIV itself.

If the vaccine was applied throughout the US, the entire population would test positive for HIV. And according to the Alice in Wonderland logic of AIDS as currently purveyed by the authorities, that would make them all candidates for medication with the current regimen of antiviral pills.

Since as has been pointed out in previous posts, this regimen brings with it the unpleasant side effects of large lumps and fatty humps, general debilitation, kidney and liver damage and in the end death, contrary to the fantasy of the uninformed that it enables patients to “live normal lives”, this would seem to be contraindicated for future public policy.

So the expensive efforts of the AIDS vaccine brigade will be by definition useless even if they succeed.

Such is the conclusion of any logical analysis of the situation. But as so often in the Lewis Carroll school of science and medicine that promulgates AIDS, logic is not the point.

That is why we confidently expect that the AIDS vaccine effort will be lavishly funded through the next two decades, just as the drinks party at the New York Academy of Sciences celebrated.

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