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Editors' note: UPDATE: Drug companies, backed by the World Bank and Rockefeller money, are preparing a publicity onslaught to target Africans as human guinea pigs in a hugely profitable and malicious scam at the 7th international "AIDS in Africa" conference during the week of December 8-15th. Read the background information below and find out more about the conference in DISS/cuss, the Ways forum for Dissonance. News Flash and activist alert for Dec. 8, 1997. See also Rosalind Chirimuuta-Harrison's "Is AIDS African?" in Dissonance, and her book, co-authored with Richard Chirimuuta, AIDS, Africa and Racism.
In the May 23, 1996 issue of the New
York Review of Books, Richard Horton, editor of the medical
journal The Lancet,
reviewed three recent works by Peter Duesberg, a retrovirologist at
the University of California at Berkeley. While Horton remains highly
critical of Duesberg in the article and the published exchange that
ensued, he admitted that the AIDS research community has effectively
blackballed funding for Duesberg's projects, and that this should be
stopped. The New York Review of Books is not online, so the
article will probably not appear on the web anytime soon, but a
detailed summary, written by Philip Johnson, is available from two
Richard Rath and Charles Geshekter criticize Horton [letter, this page] for making one of his more emotionally provocative points with specious estimates of HIV prevalence in Africa. Those estimates were made by the World Health Organization in conjuction with the World Bank, the United Nations, UNESCO, United Nations Population Fund, UNDP, and UNICEF as part of a global AIDS initiative called UNAIDS. The WHO estimates are a critical component of the UNAIDS plan to use the citizens of so-called "developing" nations as test subjects for large-scale human drug trials [see "The Human Cost," below].
The problems with the WHO's African statistics are detailed in Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos and Valendar Turner's "AIDS in Africa?" The concerns of African physicians mentioned in Rath and Geshekter's letter can be found in interviews from Meditel Productions's documentary AIDS and Africa. These and other articles on AIDS in Africa can be found on the Rethinking AIDS web site.
Rethinking AIDS is a content-oriented project of the Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV-AIDS Hypothesis. The group came into existence as the signatories of an open letter to the scientific community. The letter (dated June 6, 1991) has been submitted to the editors of Nature, Science, The Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine. All have refused to publish it. You can find the letter here. Many others have signed it since 1991.
June 3, 1996
To the Editors of The New York Review of Books:
We would like to clarify three points in Richard Horton's superb essay, "Truth and Heresy about AIDS" (New York Review of Books May 23, 1996).
If a scientific debate over the viral and non-viral theories of causation for AIDS is to become as rigorous and robust as Duesberg and Horton desire, then "falsehood" and "dogma" must be considered as carefully as the "truth" and "heresy" of Horton's title.
THE HUMAN COST OF THE
The WHO and UNAIDS have recently undertaken a major drive to test proposed HIV vaccines and related drugs on the populations of "developing nations." These vaccines, they argue, should be tested first on micro-organisms and animals (Phase I), then on small volunteer populations (Phase II), and then on a statistically significant human populations (Phase III). See "HIV Vaccine Development: From Basic Research to Human Trials," a WHO report by José Esparza, William L. Heyward and Saladin Osmanov. Regarding large-scale human testing, the authors assert that
Phase III trials will require extensive international collaboration and coordination, and it is likely that developing countries will play a major role in these trials. This is appropriate since some of the highest HIV incidence rates are found in developing countries, and conducting trials among these populations would reduce the sample size and duration of the trial. Moreover, since more than 90% of all HIV infections are occurring in developing countries, they would eventually benefit the most from an HIV vaccine. [Emphasis added. Full text of quotation with footnotes]
Large-scale human trials of pharmaceutical products and new medical procedures have often been undertaken outside the "developed" world, with generally malevolent results for the host populations. WHO justification of this practice depends upon establishing a crisis in Africa of epidemic proportions. The WHO hints that developing nations would be a better site for testing because there would be less opposition and a bigger pool of potential test subjects.
Bio-Fluorescent Technologies, Inc. is "a biomedical company specializing in human screening and confirmatory immuno assays for the rapid detection of HIV and other infectious diseases." The "Market Potential" section of their corporate profile (an inducement to buy Bio-Fluorescent stock) demonstrates what is at stake:
For societies without the financial resources of the developed countries, perhaps the most effective means for dealing with the AIDS crisis is compulsory testing and draconian regulation to keep the sick from infecting the healthy.
The profile notes that Bio-Fluorescent probably will not be able to get its "HIV antigen" test approved by the US Food and Drug Adminstration any time soon, but "FDA approval is not required for marketing outside the United States, so this should begin this year." Bio-Fluorescent sees such human rights violations as a fantastic market opportunity.
The WHO initiative, while couched in milder language, provides a fertile environment for such global entrepreneurs. All this puts a slightly ominous cast on the "One World" rhetoric of the recent Vancouver International Conference on AIDS, sponsored in large part by the United Nations/World Bank/WHO initiative, UNAIDS.
For more information, see Rosalind Chirimuuta-Harrison's "Is AIDS African?" in Dissonance, and her book, co-authored with Richard Chirimuuta, AIDS, Africa and Racism. Also see this trio of AIDS dissenters: Rethinking AIDS, AIDS Authority, and Sumeria's page on AIDs and the Immune system. Some other AIDS resources include the WHO's list of AIDS materials, the US Center for Disease Control, Yahoo's massive AIDS index, and a searchable index of all AIDS-related articles that have been published in The British Medical Journal and The Lancet.
[Navigating Way Net]
Copyright 1996, 1997 by Richard Rath. Readers may redistribute this article to other individuals for noncommercial use, provided that the text, all html codes, and this notice remain intact and unaltered in any way. This article may not be resold, reprinted, or redistributed for compensation of any kind without prior written permission from the author. If you have any questions about permissions, please contact <[CONTACT PAGE]> Preferred Citations: Richard Rath, "Horton hears the W.H.O." DISSONANCE (September 29, 1996 [http://way.net/dissonance/nyrb_ltr.html]) or, if citing the letter, Richard Rath and Charles Geshekter, "Letter to the Editors of The New York Review of Books" DISSONANCE (June 3, 1996 [http://way.net/dissonance/nyrb_ltr.html]).