Will Berkeley lose one of its most distinguished professors?

In November, it was announced that the laboratory of AIDS and cancer scientist Peter Duesberg would be closed no later than June 1999 because of his inability to get grant support. Since 1987, Professor Duesberg has had 20 grant proposals in a row turned down. How could this happen to a man who once upon a time never had a grant proposal rejected?

During Professor Duesberg's three decades at Cal, he has published 300 scientific papers, been designated California Scientist of the Year, won election to the National Academy of Sciences, and received the National Institutes of Health's most prestigious Outstanding Investigator Grant (OIG), in 1985. The OIG is a special seven-year grant designed to give accomplished scientists the freedom to explore new ideas and directions without constantly having to apply for new funding. Paradoxically, Professor Duesberg has been systematically punished since 1987 for energetically exploring "new ideas and directions" in AIDS and cancer research.

What happened in 1987 that was significant enough to lead to the closing of Duesberg's lab in June 1999? Because of Duesberg's leadership in the field of retrovirology, in 1985 the editor of Cancer Research invited him to write a special review of retroviruses as the cause of disease. Since a retrovirus called HIV had recently been claimed to be the cause of AIDS, Duesberg examined that hypothesis and argued that HIV could not cause AIDS, citing data that showed HIV was inactive in the body, did not kill T-cells, and could not possibly have a long latent period before inducing AIDS.

His 22-page review appeared in March 1987. To this day, not one scientist has answered in a proper scientific forum the questions he raised 12 years ago. Indeed, Nobel Laureate Kary Mullis, Ph.D. '73, has asked scientists around the world to show where Peter was wrong; he has yet to receive his first answer. Even though Duesberg's challenge to the HIV hypothesis has never been refuted, he is systematically being squeezed from all directions. Since he refuses to capitulate, the multi-billion dollar HIV/AIDS establishment has waged a relentless assault, not against Duesberg's scientific arguments, but against him personally and professionally. Not only is he denied grant funding, he is virtually excluded from publishing in American scientific journals and has lost his graduate students. (Prospective students are quietly warned that working in Duesberg's lab is not good for their careers.)

To keep Peter Duesberg at Cal, send a tax-deductible contribution payable to the Regents of the University of California to: Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, c/o Katherine Wang, 229 Stanley Hall, Berkeley 94720. Donation information is also on the Duesberg website

The above ad was published in California Monthly, Feb. 1999.
The advertisement was paid for by Cal Friends of Peter Duesberg.