Re: HHV-8 and KS 19 October 2004
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Nicholas Bennett,
Infectious Disease Postdoc/Clinician
Department of Pediatrics, University Hospital, Syracuse NY

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Re: Re: HHV-8 and KS

I thank the Perth Group for providing the Monday Morning comedy this week.

I admired the way they twisted by references showing that HHV8 encoded oncogenes, the "cellular homologues" referred to in the text, to imply that they are any old random gene and then conclude:

(a) There is no evidence that HHV8 is oncogenic

(b) The serology of HHV8 is against autoantibodies.

Faced with such manipulation of the data, one can only sit back in admiration. Their ability to ignore the fact that KS is several tens of thousands of times more common in those with HIV and several hundreds of times more common in other immune-deficiency states (as discussed here previously) is commendable. They belittle the tissue-culture evidence as if it were nothing more than artifacts, when it is exactly the evidence they were requesting. I'm impressed.

I look forward to their comments on HSV and gunshots.

As regards the fact that two of the Perth Group are radiophysicists, it's therefore surprising that they are unaware of the mechanism by which UV induces DNA modification [1]: which is an attack on the electron dense double bonds between the carbons in the 5 and 6 position (I think, my physics is only high-school level) and a subsequent rearrangement to link at those positions between two adjacent bases.

It's surprising that the Perth Group are trying to give a lesson (or so they think) on medicine and virology, when I have an honours degree specialising in genetic and viral pathology, a doctorate in HIV molecular biology and a medical degree. (pot kettle black!)

By "a subset of one cell line", I refer to the blindingly obvious fact that the CD4 cells are affected preferentially compared to the CD8 cells, B lymphocytes (i.e. the other lymphocytes) NK cells, neutrophils, eosinophils, basophils (i.e. the granulocyte lineage), hair follicles, gut epithelium (other rapidly cycling cells) by such a non-specific and systemic situation as an "increased oxidative state".

Nick Bennett njb35@cantab.net

1. Rajeshwar P. Sinha and Donat-P. Häder Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences, 2002, 1 (4), 225 - 236 UV-induced DNA damage and repair: a review

Competing interests: None declared