Liam Scheff on H5N1

Liam Scheff has now turned his attention from HIV to avian influenza, with predictable results. Analysis below...

Scheff's self-stated goal is to " some of the bright and shiny inconsistencies that have come into view on the bird flu." However, he's not exactly consistent himself, ranging from minor errors to total contradictions of his own words. He starts off discussing "stray cats and Chinamen:"

In March, 2006, The Associated Press reported: "In Austria, state authorities said Monday that three cats have tested positive for the deadly strain of bird flu in the country's first reported case of the disease spreading to an animal other than a bird."

The report quoted the World Health Organization (WHO), which said that "bird flu poses a greater challenge to the world than any infectious disease, including AIDS..."

Really? Bigger than AIDS? Who knew? But why would it be so? Because three cats in Austria tested positive? What does that mean? How many cats, in all of Austria, did they test? What would happen if you tested every cat?

Of course, he mocks the finding and ignores the significance. Thing is, cats typically don't get flu, and the fact that it's able to infect such a wide range of mammals (several species of cats, dogs, stone martens, potentially foxes and hyenas, etc.) is what makes it worrying and a major finding, not just that "three cats in Austria" tested positive.

He then discusses a "2004 Nature Medicine study" that he suggests shows that "millions" of people have tested positive for "bird flu." Too bad that's not the case at all.

He references for this claim a 2005 Gina Kolata story in the New York Times. Kolata herself quoted Peter Palese, author of a 2004 Nature Medicine review that states

In fact, seroepidemiological studies conducted among the rural population in China suggest that millions of people have been infected with influenza viruses of the H4-to-H15 subtypes. Specifically, seroprevalence levels of 2â7% for H5 viruses alone have been reported, and the seropositivity of human sera for H7, H10 and H11 viruses was estimated to be as high as 38, 17 and 15% respectively.

As an "investigative journalist," I'm surprised he didn't fact-check this a bit more. These data didn't come from the Nature Medicine paper; they came from a 1992 paper in Seminars in Respiratory Infections. Revere over at Effect Measure already commented on this paper back in December. Thing is, in this paper they only measured antibodies to the hemagglutinin, and didn't test the neuraminidase type. (The hemagglutinin and neuraminidase are two surface proteins of the virus, and are recognized by the immune system. They give the virus its "H" and "N" type). So Scheff is simply wrong when he equates "antibodies to H5" with antibodies to H5N1. Low-pathogenicity H5 avian viruses have previously been reported, including both H5N1 and H5N2 serotypes, so even if they had typed the neuraminidase and found it to be H5N1, we still don't know if (assuming the Chinese seroprevalence data are indeed correct) they were exposed to the strain of high-pathogenicity H5N1 that's circulating currently. Indeed, there is evidence that humans can--and have--been infected occasionally with avian influenza viruses, but the high-pathogenicity H5N1 virus seems to be in its own category.

And that's just the beginning.

Scheff next sarcastically addresses the 2005 NEJM report documenting H5N1 in two children from Vietnam. He suggests that, instead of H5N1, the childrens' deaths were due to a combination of their lifestyle (poverty, poor sanitation) and the antibiotics they were given. He cites a few reports of adverse reactions to these drugs (no surprise to anyone who's ever administered or taken antibiotics; allergies and other adverse reactions are always a concern), but he ignores even part of what he cites. Reactions to antibiotics are typically pretty quick: as even he notes, they develop "within minutes to hours of drug administration". However, the girl died a day later, and her brother died 4 days after treatment. I also find it very difficult to accept that the doctors wouldn't have mentioned an adverse reaction to the antibiotics in the case report.

He then makes this strange statement: "What do antibiotics do for viruses? Nothing. Nothing at all. Presuming a virus was the problem." However, a virus wasn't presumed--a bacterial infection was, which was why antibiotics were given. It's right there in the paper: "The differential diagnosis was septicemia [bacteria in the blood] from a gastrointestinal source or acute encephalitis." H5N1 wasn't diagnosed until after death. Additionally, while Scheff claims that "no one was interested" in examining whether "toxic shock" (presumably due to antibiotic administration) played a role in the deaths of these children, he's obviously overlooking the fact that it was the very examination of tissue samples from these kids that led to the diagnosis of H5N1. Additionally, H5N1 has been suggested in other cases (and cell culture models) to cause massive cytokine production. This is similar to the "Spanish" influenza virus of 1918, which was capable of causing a "cytokine storm" that resulted in a massive immune response, lowered blood pressure, and "shock"--which can be the cause of death, rather than the secondary bacterial infections that typically cause death during influenza virus infections. So "shock" alone wouldn't be diagnostic of an antibiotic reaction.

Scheff also makes much of the issue that lumbar punctures ("spinal taps") were performed on the children--after he chides the officials for their faulty diagnosis and lack of allergy testing, and then calls the children "poorly cared for" (partly because of the test they did perform!) Diagnostic tests often are invasive; it's the nature of the game, unfortunately. I've had a spinal tap, and I agree they're definitely unpleasant, but they're needed to rule out (or confirm) bacteria in the cerebral spinal fluid. Scheff makes much of the description in the article of the boy's LP as a "slightly traumatic lumbar puncture:"

What does this mean, exactly? That the child squirmed, the flesh was torn wider than was intended, it bled a great deal, he was frightened, they did the procedure poorly and went into a nerve or jammed the needle in too far? Who knows? They don't say, only that it was "traumatic".

I'm no doctor either, so I didn't know exactly what a "traumatic" LP was, but it would surprise the hell outta me if the NEJM published an article discussing a patient's emotional reaction to a procedure in that type of language. So, I checked it out. It took me all of a minute on Google to find out that it's apparently referring to the appearance of the specimen ("first specimen bloody, rest clear"), resulting, I assume, from the introduction of red blood cells into the fluid during the puncture. It's not referring to child's mental state.

Scheff also makes an issue of the fact that the researchers even reported the atypical presentation of H5N1 in the Vietnamese children. The authors of the case report noted that the children had no respiratory symptoms and instead presented with diarrhea and encephalitis, leading them to conclude that physicians should consider H5N1 for a wider range of symptoms than seen typically with influenza. Again, that's one thing that makes this report so important: they're not typical cases, suggesting that the case definition for suspect H5N1 infection needs to be broadened so that we're not missing cases. Scheff seems to want doctors to consider every possibility, except the ones he disfavors. And of course, he suggests that this "look beyond the norm" message is really some kind of conspiracy: "If I didn't know better, I'd say that it sounded like somebody was trying to make it a lot easier to diagnose people with bird flu." Docs just can't win with Mr. Scheff--if you consider more than the typical pathogens, you lose; if you make a narrow assumption that turns out to be wrong, you also lose. Nothing like stacking the deck. Perhaps Scheff doesn't realize that in birds, influenza is an intestinal illness. Just because we've not seen it present that way previously in humans doesn't mean it's not possible.

He goes on to suggest that physicians are even attributing just "fever and diarrhea" to infection with H5N1, regardless of viral presence: "Fever and diarrhea in Vietnam used to be 'fever and diarrhea'...But now we don't have to think about that. Because now, it's 'deadly H5N1'". Of course, sarcasm aside, this is patently false--if even a minority of cases of "fever and diarrhea" in Vietnam or elsewhere were considered to be H5N1, we'd have a helluva lot more than 224 cases by now. Additionally, it's even noted in the article that "culture and parasitologic examination of stool specimens did not reveal enteric pathogens." Checks for normal diarrheal pathogens were done--and were negative. Out-of-the-box thinking was necessary--sometimes, hoofbeats do mean zebras instead of horses.

Sheff also misstates how the case of H5N1 was diagnosed. He claims:

It should be noted that only one child's death was attributed to the flu - the younger brother, who died in five days. Why? Because only his sample remained when the WHO came to town, nine months later, scavenging for potential flu cases. The children died in February, 2004; the WHO made the bird-flu diagnosis in November.

From reading that, you'd think the boy's sample was just sitting around, waiting for the WHO. But by reading the paper, you find he's leaving a heckuva lot of intervening information out. From the NEJM article:

Patient 2 (the "younger brother") was included in an ongoing study of the causes of acute encephalitis, and hence throat and rectal swabs and cerebrospinal fluid and serum specimens were stored at -80°C.

After his death, patient 2's samples were then tested for a variety of viruses as a part of this study, including dengue, Japanese encephalitis virus, herpes viruses, enteroviruses, and varicella-zoster. These tests all took time (and all came back negative), and then they note that "further efforts at identification were delayed until late October." For anyone who does these types of retrospective diagnostic studies, you probably know that this is just how it goes--at times, if things aren't critical, they get pushed to the back burner. When they resumed the investigation, they inoculated the samples onto two different cell lines, and cytopathic effects (CPE) were seen. It was only then that they began to suspect influenza. Even if this was because "the WHO came into town, scavenging for cases" as Scheff contends (unreferenced, I might add), so what? It's known that influenza can cause encephalitis, though it's not a common manifestation, so it's not as if it's unreasonable to test a patient who died of encephalitis of unknown cause for viruses that are known to cause it! It's rather common-sensical, as a matter of fact. What was unique about this case, however, was that it wasn't caused by your run-of-the-mill influenza virus: it was caused by H5N1, which was then subsequently isolated from the patient's stored throat and rectal swabs as well. It's not some vast conspiracy; it's just how diagnosis of rare infections happen.

Sheff also seriously contradicts himself. He again quotes the NEJM article, which says regarding bird exposure: "We cannot rule out the possibility of mild or subclinical infection in persons exposed to either ill poultry or ill persons," and jeers:

"Mild bird flu" can't be ruled out? I've never heard that on the evening news. So what would make a case "mild or subclinical" versus "fatal"?

Yeah, some jaws are probably dropping, since Scheff's opening salvo was all about the claim that millions in China had been infected--obviously either mildly or subclinically--with H5 serotypes of influenza! And he may not have "heard that on the evening news," but even he admits he read it in the New York Times. Clearly, the main difference between "mild or subclinical" versus "fatal" is that those with a mild infection survived--and those with a fatal infection, obviously, died. We have much evidence for the latter--127 deaths and another 97 cases severe enough to require hospitalization--but thus far, there hasn't been much evidence that the high-pathogenicity strains of H5N1 are causing much mild or subclinical infection. This is something I've written about previously, and I still would be somewhat surprised if there were no subclinical (or mild-but-unrecognized) cases that we're missing, but thus far, there simply isn't much evidence for them. Hopefully that will change soon as studies looking for such cases get underway, but from the evidence we have now, we simply can't say that they're out there. I wonder if Scheff will criticize these surveillance studies as "scavenging for potential flu cases," as he does regarding the Vietnamese cases.

Finally, Scheff makes an odd argument about culling of birds:

Of all the birds that have died worldwide, how many actually died of illnesss? No one seems to be bothered by the question...

And indeed, no one denies that millions of birds have been purposely culled to prevent the spread of the virus. But it's not only to prevent human disease; it's also to prevent its spread through the domestic poultry (though Scheff claims that it's "because it could be infectious in humans", which is only a part of the reason). Additionally, it's not that it "could be" infectious in humans--it is infectious in humans. It simply isn't highly contagious in humans yet (difference is explained here)--which Scheff spends more time emphasizing (as if that point hadn't been hammered home enough by other journalists and researchers? Doesn't almost every article on the topic discuss how the real trouble starts when/if it becomes human-to-human transmissible?).

Phew. That's a lot of misinformation in a little post--and that's only part 1. I suppose I should be somewhat happy, though--at least it's better than his colleague Stefan Lanka, who's written that:

However much you stretch things in biology, there is simply no place for viruses as the causative agents of diseases.

Or another colleague, David Crowe, who argues that H5N1 doesn't even exist.

Maybe that's coming in Part 2.


de Jong et al. 2005. Fatal Avian Influenza A (H5N1) in a Child Presenting with Diarrhea Followed by Coma. NEJM. 352:686-691.

Palese, P. 2004. Influenza: old and new threats. Nature Medicine 10:S82 - S87.


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Sounds pretty much like his HIV arguments adapted for H5N1 which I suppose is about what one should expect from a one trick pony.

How can somebody get so many things wrong and still believe he has any idea what he is talking about. Perhaps there is an explanation

His next post is even more laughable.

Does The New York Times Want to Kill Gay Men?

And what is "SHIVSF162p3", you ask? Well, who knows? It's a molecular biology experiment. A laboratory construction of synthetic proteins and genetic material derived from bits and pieces of various monkeys and humans. So, you can see how this relates to heterosexual intercourse in young, healthy men and women in India, Botswana, Thailand and Brazil. Or to sex between healthy gay men [and other non-monkeys]

Liam doesn't know what this SHIV is - therefore nobody does. Ignorance combined with arrogance.

SHIVSF162p3 is basically SIVmac239 with the parts of the genome coding for rev, tat and env replaced by the corresponding HIVsf162 genes.

Why is it important? Because cell free isolates of this virus cause simian AIDS in macaques in a way that mimics human AIDS.

Mucosal Transmission and Induction of Simian AIDS by CCR5-Specific Simian/Human Immunodeficiency Virus SHIVSF162P3

How do "dissidents" explain these experimental results? They don't.

Chris Noble

By Chris Noble (not verified) on 07 Jun 2006 #permalink

| 34. liam Says:
| June 7th, 2006 at 12:37 pm
| Donny,

I see you are at least up to date on
diminishing, downgrading, dismissing
people by using the diminutive form of a
person's name to make them
inconsequential. Its a kind of name
calling, which is, of course, just
another way of avoiding the crucial
issues actually under discussion.

In the same vein, should I start
referring to you as "twerp"?

| This isn't an AIDS Debate forum. Many
| of us here, have made up our minds,

What would you do if research over the
last 10+ years showed there was
something wrong with your made up mind?

| but only after years of doing a great
| more-or-less nonstop reading,
| observing

Observing acquired immunodeficiency
syndrome patients or lab work?

| and research.

In a lab, in the field?

| I don't expect everyone to agree with
| me, especially if they haven't read
| what I've read,

How about assembling a comprehensive
list of what you've read?

| seen what I've seen, or walked in my

What if your shoes are smaller than
mine? That could get to be

| On the other hand, I'm not going to
| walk anybody all the way through it,
| hoping

There's something "faith based research"
about that word.

| they can come up with the same
| answer. I don't care if you, or anyone
| does.

Isn't this tantamount to saying reality
doesn't matter, your mind is permanently
made up? Isn't that the definition of
an idealogue?

| I want the research to be available to
| persons given this innane diagnosis.

A comprehensive reading list, compiled
by you, would go a long way towards
accomplishing that.

| I'll be posting some of the stuff I've
| read soon on the site in a dedicated
| section. But I have no doubt you're
| already familiar with it,

You should consider doubt, unless you
are dog or omniscient. How can I
possibly know if I've read everything
you have without seeing your
comprehensive list?

| and just choose to ignore it.

We can't possibly know this unless your
comprehensive list is available so I can
read it. You put me in an impossible
Catch-22 position. You say I
won't/haven't read everything you have,
but don't have a comprehensive list for
me to see if that is so.

| I asked you to participate in a
| discussion. I asked you to express
| your philosophy or hypothesis up
| front.

I thought a discussion was people
talking back and forth to each other,
for example, how I try to consider each
of your points, like I'm doing right
now. You will notice I've made no
reference to motorcycle helmets. That's
not the topic under discussion. I'm
trying to stick with human
immunodeficiency virus / acquired
immunodeficiency syndrome.

| You haven't done so, at least not
| directly.

I'm thinking my point of view is clear
here: what post 1995 cites is your
current thinking about human
immunodeficiency virus / acquired
immunodeficiency syndrome based
on. That's what I try to consider in
formulating a view of this topic.

| I don't know what you think,

I think it is important to look at post
and pre 1995 research on human
immunodeficiency virus / acquired
immunodeficiency syndrome before coming
to a conclusion.

| or why you think it

The why is because new information
should re-inform any opinions I have on
this subject. A scientist in any field,
for example, would not be considered
legitimate if they only used old data.

| I know that you want to provoke an
| argument,

Isn't that what anyone would do
regarding a controversial issue. You are
arguing that the current view of human
immunodeficiency virus / acquired
immunodeficiency syndrome is wrong, so
you propose provocative ideas. I don't
see myself doing anything
different--except that I include all the
data available, including post 1995

| and so, I'm going to send you along to
| the guys who like to argue this sort
| of thing in the minutae, tirelessly,
| and ad nauseum,

Could I be wrong in concluding that you
argue, tirelessly and ad nauseum that
only pre 1995 human immunodeficiency
virus / acquired immunodeficiency
syndrome research should be considered
in formulating a solution to the human
immunodeficiency virus / acquired
immunodeficiency syndrome puzzle.

| over at AME.

I think you are being dismissive because
you have no answer to the core of your

| I'm sure they'll be glad to walk you
| through the ten thousand miles of
| history,

Does their history include post 1995

If not, then how could they be any
different from you?

| only to still have you refuse to
| acknowledge any single minor point any
| of them make.

What would be one of those minor points?

| That is the style and manner of those
| who can't get heads around the blatant
| realities of science today. It's
| cooked. It is at least as imperfect as
| any other government bureuacracy.

Right now, at this very moment, do you
happen to have a piece of tinfoil
wrapped around your head?

There are thousands of scientists around
the world who spend their entire lives
in the pursuit of knowledge. Most of
the people who research human
immunodeficiency virus / acquired
immunodeficiency syndrome are of that

| But maybe you think it's not. Maybe
| you hold a belief that science is the
| golden child of all human endevors,
| untouched by, well, humans.

Science is a way of getting to the truth
in some small area of the world. We know
from the history of the world that a lot
had to be discovered and a lot of false
beliefs had to be uncovered. That is
still going on. It is possible that some
new discovery will eventually present a
completely new picture of human
immunodeficiency virus / acquired
immunodeficiency syndrome. But the years
1996-2006 will be a part of that
history. Consider adding those years to
your data.

| If you hold this belief, or this sort
| of belief, you find any takers here,
| because is not our experience.

Experience as a scientist or

| And it's not evidenced in the record,
| anywhere.

What is not evidenced in the record?
That scientists can't be trusted to find
cures for diseases, for example?

| And you'll just go on writing angry
| posts, demanding more and more answers
| to questions you could and should
| easily research yourself.

The central question is still that of
why you don't include post 1995 research
in your cites. I can't research your
brain to find out why that data is left
out. You could just tell me why you
exclude it.

| This is my blog, this isn't an open
| abuse forum.

Hey, stop looking for excuses to not
answer such a crucial, central
question. Its just another rhetorical
trick to ignore me.

| I'm sorry that wasn't clear. I go onto
| blogs that are open, and quite
| informal, and quite abusive.

I guess if refusing to move on from the
question of why you don't include post
1995 data in your cites is... abusive,
then call me abusive. You can call me
anything you want--as long as you don't
call me late for dinner.

| You can meet me there and post your
| chattery responses, which you are too
| lazy, apparently, to look into
| yourself.

Again, I can't look into your head and
determine why you don't include post
1995 cites in your research.

| And I'll probably ignore you

That's what you seem to be doing with
your chattery responses.

| there too, but maybe I'll send some
| reading your way,


| hoping you will read it,


| but more or less knowing you won't.

There you go, condemning me again before
the facts.

| You can also read anything I've
| written on the subject, including the
| article in question here,

Please, again, let me beseech you to
make a complete list of cites and of
your own writing.

| which you, like most apologist
| reductionist true-believers, never
| responded to.

I've got to have that complete list of
cites to read before I can possibly

| The question, Donny,

Dismissive, yet again!

| is, would you take or give this drug -
| Viread - to perfectly healthy people?

I'll look into that, and read anything
you send me.

Meanwhile, could you enlighten me about
why no post 1995 cites?

| That's the question posed by the
| article. Is this a good idea, if you
| think so, let's here why you do.

I'm looking into it. That's why I
thought something about your technical
qualifications would clarify your
background on your writing. Like any
biology course, science course, other
courses you studied.

| I've cut the long re-iterations of
| earlier posts out of most of your
| posts, becuase it's damned annoying to
| have to re-read an entire earlier post
| so you can make one snarky comment.

You mean like the snarky "Donny"

| Finally, I asked you to come forward
| with your philosophy - what is it that
| you believe.

I believe that human immunodeficiency
virus / acquired immunodeficiency
syndrome research should include all the
data from the last 20+ years, especially
from the last 10+ years.

| I didn't ask you to attack my
| philosophy,

I suppose criticizing you for excluding
post 1995 data could be construed as an
attack. Just include the post 1995 data
and I'm dead in my tracks. You can do
it--I know you can.

| I asked what yours is.

I believe that all an immunodeficiency
virus / acquired immunodeficiency
syndrome research data from the last 20+
years should be considered when trying
to resolve issues about the disease. Let
me know if that's not clear.

| If you want to post here, own your
| point of view,

Do you know where I can register my
stated opinions as my own so there is no
question? something like how one
registers real estate. Or maybe
copyright would handle it.

| but don't expect others to agree with
| you.

It has been, I must admit, an
expectation of mine that people
interested in the human immunodeficiency
virus / acquired immunodeficiency
syndrome puzzle would include all data
from the last 20+ years of research. I
will try to convince myself that leaving
out huge amounts of data about a subject
is ok.

| See if you can keep up, and allow for
| the differences.

I'm doing the best I can and hope you
will give me a hand.

| Leave a Reply

Your analysis is faulty. The question in the paper your citing are, were the tests accurate, what did they test for, and what was the treatment of children in this event. The writer examines these issues with an open mind and a better understanding of hospital procedure and immune and allergic response to standard medicines than you are willing to grant. The writer then asks the very clear question regarding the utility of labeling southeast asians as victims of a pandemic strain, before accounting for environmental factors and toxicological issues.

Your comments are ad hominem and missing a basic understanding of sanitation issues. The manipulation of markets is a well-known and recorded feature of international business in the modern era. The writer makes these points well. He should thank you for giving the article a boost, and you should thank him for pointing to the flaws in the standard medical construct.

By Andre 1000 (not verified) on 23 Jan 2009 #permalink

There has never been a single wild animal that's died of SIV. Dissidents don't ignore anything. Read the study you even posted. One of the monkeys out of 4 was sacrificed after 24 weeks after having dehydration and cachexia. Doesn't resemble the 10 year lag with HIV does it?

What about the other monkeys?

"Macaque T290, which maintained a viral set point of 105 copies of viral RNA/ml, also displayed a gradual loss in peripheral CD4+ T cells. This animal exhibited clinical signs, including diarrhea and dehydration, and was sacrificed at 44 weeks postinfection. Macaque R513 was sacrificed at week 44 from complications not associated with SIV or SHIV infection."

Wait a minute, why were they "sacrificed?" I thought SIV was supposed to kill on it's own, even the data admits one monkey died due to other causes.

Why are there no control animals to see if the labratory conditions play a role? Sorry Chris, the whole hypothesis is based on a partial correlation, chimps inoculated are just fine. .......

"There has never been a single wild animal that's died of SIV. Dissidents don't ignore anything."

But you do! This has been answered for you before but you continue to pretend you've never been told this before. So yes, you do ignore quite a bit. Here's a breif recap:

Monkeys in the wild do not die of SIV because the virus has been in their population long enough to select out those monkeys resistant to the virus. The same would occur in the human population were HIV allowed to run rampant. Eventually only those whose chromosomes carried resistance to HIV would survive. Its called evolution; a very, very basic principle in biology. Monkeys actually can succumb to AIDS-like progression when injected with the SIV from another species against which they have not undergone selected.

By Poodle Stomper (not verified) on 24 Jan 2009 #permalink

Nice lame Ad hoc excuse. Using your logic we humans should have all adapted to TB, the cold virus, and syphillis since they have been around for hundereds of years. You guys are all totally pathetic.

I don't care if Tara deletes, moderates posts, or even if she lets posts go through acts like it's some huge privelage to post here. I've been on so many other forums and have converted hundereds of people to doubt HIV, so I'm gald Tara introduced moderation, it's given me much more time to convert normal people instead of arguing here ad nauseum. I even emailed the drummer for Metallica Lars Ulrich some 9/11 skeptic and hiv skeptic vids. he replied! He said they looked interesting. Awesome!

Funny, I tell idiots like you something looks "interesting" so I don't hurt their feelings by telling them they're full of crap. I wouldn't be surprised if Lars were doing the same (if he even truly bothered to write you back). Your lack of knowledge of biology, evolution, virology and...well pretty much everything else is astonishing. Keep posting, we need a good laugh. Your posts are always...whats the word...oh yeah "interesting". Go drink some Jonestown cool-aid.

By Poodle Stomper (not verified) on 24 Jan 2009 #permalink

and also...

"Nice lame Ad hoc excuse. Using your logic we humans should have all adapted to TB, the cold virus, and syphillis since they have been around for hundereds of years. You guys are all totally pathetic."

I would also like to point out that this type of selectio in humans is evident in Africans carrying the Sickle Cell mutation. This mutation, when present in only one copy protects against malaria (if you tell me you don't believe in malaria either I will pee myself laughing). This protective effect caused a huge increase in the presence on this mutation in a population of people under the selective pressure of malaria. In a similar, albeit more complex fashion, different populations of animals have been selected for the presence of genes endowing them with protection against certain pathogens. SIV is one of these in monkeys. In humans the CCR5-Î32 mutation which confers resistance to HIV also has a good deal of evidence as imparting resistance to the black plague(being that CCR5 is also a receptor for the black plague bacteria), explaining its relatively high frequency in European populations. The plague brought a selective pressure, which altered the frequency of genes in the population of survivors. There is nothing mysterious about this and SIV is by no means the only time this would happen. That humans haven't been selected as a species against a fairly non-lethal virus such as the "cold virus" doesn't make the selection of sickle cell in Africa untrue. Neither does it make the selection against SIV such.

By Poodle Stomper (not verified) on 24 Jan 2009 #permalink

you would think that given the 2 1/2 year separation between my post and your reply that you would have come up with a more substantial reply.

By Chris Noble (not verified) on 25 Jan 2009 #permalink

I didn't know it was an old thread, andre1000 brought it back sonny boy. Regardless, I put the smackdown on that pathetic study. CAN YOU FEEL MY POWER!

Lol, not substantial.........Even your idol ORAC critisized Hewitsons thimerosal monkey inoculation because it had only 3 controls, this didn't have any! What a barrell of laughs! Having at least one control animal is standard for scientists. Especially when one of the monkeys out of four died from other causes according to the study.

Just remember that, as happened so many times in the past, just because you think your argument is superior doesn't mean it is true. You simply don't understand the science behind the topic. Typical.

By Poodle Stomper (not verified) on 25 Jan 2009 #permalink

Can anyone support what the blog author Dr. Smith is referring to in terms of an accurate or an inaccurate test for bird flu? I think Mr. Scheff is correct in asking those questions as he is in asking the same questions about HIV tests. Why is the response to these questions so personal? These are technical issues.

By andre 1000 (not verified) on 14 Feb 2009 #permalink

âRadical views that are outside the mainstream generally (but not always) are more reliable than the dominant view because they are more regularly challenged and tested against evidence. They do not get to float freely down the mainstream; they must swim against the current. They cannot rest on the orthodox power to foreclose dissent, and they are not supported by the unanimity of bias that passes for objectivity.â ~ Dr. Michael Parenti

"HIV" is a hoax. It's NEVER been isolated. You're all soldiers for the Pharmaceuticals and the NIH. Real science, not commoditized science by authority, is on the dissenters side.

"In humans, in the blood or in other bodily fluids, in an animal or in a plant there never have been seen or demonstrated structures which you could characterize as bird flu viruses or flu viruses or any other supposedly disease-causing virus. The causes of those diseases which are being maintained to be caused by a virus, also those in animals, which can arise quickly and in individuals either one after the other or several at the same time, are known since a long time back. However much you stretch things in biology, there is simply no place for viruses as the causative agents of diseases. Only if I ignore the findings of Dr Hamerâs New Medicine, according to which shock events are the cause of many diseases, and the findings of chemistry on the effects of poisonings and deficiencies, and then if I ignore the findings of physics about the effects of radiation, then there is a place for imaginings such as disease-causing viruses."

I couldn't have said it better myself

Please Google Stefan Lanka or The Perth Group.