Peter Duesberg

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Peter H. Duesberg (born December 2, 1936 in Münster, Germany) is a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences and professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley. Duesberg received acclaim early in his career for research on oncogenes and cancer in the 1970s and later "became arguably the most important figure in [AIDS] denialism", arguing that HIV is harmless and not the cause of AIDS. He is one of the most important figures in the denialist community. Duesberg continues his research on cancer in both Berkeley and an alternative lab in Germany, as well as his activities within the AIDS denialist community.[1]

In 1970, Duesberg and Peter Vogt reported that a cancer-causing virus of birds had extra genetic material compared with non-cancer-causing viruses.[2][3] At the age of 36, Duesberg was awarded tenure at the University of California, Berkeley, and at 49 he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. He received an Outstanding Investigator Grant (OIG) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 1986, and from 1986 to 1987 was a Fogarty Scholar-in-Residence at the NIH laboratories in Bethesda, Maryland.

Long considered a contrarian by his scientific colleagues,[4] Duesberg began to gain public notoriety with a March 1987 article in Cancer Research entitled "Retroviruses as Carcinogens and Pathogens: Expectations and Reality".[5] In this and subsequent writings, Duesberg proposed his hypothesis that AIDS is caused by long-term consumption of recreational drugs and/or antiretroviral drugs, and that HIV was a harmless passenger virus. The scientific consensus is that HIV is the causal pathogen that leads to AIDS;[6] Duesberg's HIV/AIDS claims have been rejected as incorrect and disproven by the scientific community.[1][7][8] Duesberg published a variety of opinion pieces and criticisms of the HIV-AIDS hypothesis in venues such as Nature[9] and Science.[10] After reviewing Duesberg's claims the latter stated they were based on an unpersuasive and selective reading of the literature and both venues came to the conclusion that though Duesberg had a right to a dissenting opinion, his failure to fairly review the evidence for HIV causing AIDS meant his opinion lacked credibility.[10][11]

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