Jerome Horwitz, the man who invented AZT, died– Being in the basic virology realm of HIV Research World, I dont always pay as much attention to the clinical side of things as I should. Thus I didnt know about the really interesting history of Jerome Horowitz and AZT. Apparently he invented it as an anti-cancer agent, it didnt work, and they forgot about it… until someone tested it as a therapeutic agent for HIV, a moment that changed the course of the HIV epidemic. Sure it wasnt a perfect drug (drug resistance when used alone, terrible side-effect profile), but it gave everyone hope that this HIV puzzle could be solved. Here is whats tragic– Horowitz never made a penny off of AZT. He and his institution never patented it because it failed for their purposes, cancer.
I dont know if you all remember this– In 2010 a woman named Amy Bishop was distraught about not getting tenure. Instead of just getting a job somewhere else, like so many scientists and professors who dont get tenure (I know numerous investigators that have gone on to successful careers outside of academia in industry/government/etc after not getting tenure), she killed herself. Oh wait, thats not right– she opened fire during a faculty meeting at the University of Alabama, killing Gopi K. Podila, Maria Ragland Davis, Adriel D. Johnson Sr., and wounded three other people, including a secretary.
At first she tried to get out of the fact she murdered three people in cold blood (and tried to kill three others) by pleading ‘insanity’. She was ‘insane’ enough to go to a premier university for undergrad, get her PhD from Harvard, teach numerous classes, get married, have children… Weird how Bishops ‘insanity’ is the dream life of lots of other people, huh? Apparently she was also ‘insane’ enough to file gender discrimination claims against a professor who called her ‘crazy‘.
Well she and her lawyers finally figured out that NO ONE would or could buy their ‘insanity’ defense, and so, fittingly on September 11th, she plead guilty to capital murder. Part of the plea? To avoid the death penalty.
Murderers– Care so little for others lives. Care so much about their own.
And, though XMRV is the zombie that just wont die, even after youve shot it, cut off its head, and set it on fire, it might be for realsies dead at this point.
A Multicenter Blinded Analysis Indicates No Association between Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and either Xenotropic Murine Leukemia Virus-Related Virus or Polytropic Murine Leukemia Virus
Numerous people have emailed/commented/messaged me this story, wanting me to do a post on it. Heres the deal– In my opinion, while THIS is science, this paper is not. I mean, its like if James Randi published a paper every time a woo-healer or psychic failed his Million Dollar Challenge. Thats what this paper is. Debunking a parlor trick.
When someone else collects the samples (so XMRV plasmid and mouse DNA cant find their way into patient samples) and someone else blinds them (so ‘patient’ samples can be treated with 5-AZA while ‘control’ samples are not), Mikovits and Ruscetti, using their special super secret super magic protocols, cant find XMRV anywhere. Or when they did find it, it was 50/50 in CFS/controls, aka ‘chance’.
This isnt a ‘remarkable’ paper or contributing in any meaningful way to Science. Its embarrassing this had to be done at all. Its embarrassing supposed trained professionals, who had all the time in the world to use PR to defend the XMRV=CFS connection, couldnt do this basic science to defend their work without being prompted to by the government. Its embarrassing that some of the top names in retrovirology had to waste their time on this stupidity. Like Stephen Hawking spending time and effort to debunk Sylvia Browne.