Immunology and Infections


Infections, Aids and Deaths Worldwide Resulted from Abuse of Refereeing in The Journal Nature

Author(s): Abraham Karpas*

AIDS was recognised as a new human disease in 1981 in the USA when it was suspected to be caused by a transmitted microorganism. In April 1983 the American journal Science published the first research papers claiming discovery of the causative virus. Gallo’s group from NIH in the US reported that the oncoretrovirus HTLV, known to cause Adult T-cell leukaemia, was also the cause of AIDS. In contrast a French group from the Institute Pasteur in Paris thought a new retrovirus LAV which they had isolated was the agent. By April 1983 the French team had compelling evidence that LAV was a new lentiretrovirus and conclusive evidence of how LAV caused AIDS. Their seminal paper was submitted to the British journal Nature in May 1983, but unfortunately the biological sub-editor of Nature, Peter Newmark, abdicated responsibility for retrovirus papers to Dr Robin Weiss of the Chester Beatty Laboratories; and he kept the French manuscript for over four months, possibly trying to reproduce the French data, before providing what were supposed to be two independent referees reports rejecting the manuscript. It resulted in a lost of a year in AIDS research and testing. His abuse of this privileged position was undoubtedly responsible for avoidable hundred of thousands of HIV infections, AIDS and deaths throughout the world.

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