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Typical Lyme Story, Atypical Victim

Discussion in 'Infections: Lyme, Candida, EBV ...' started by duncan, Jun 26, 2019.

  1. duncan

    duncan Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Not that I am aware.

    Agreed.

    Representative Chris Smith's legislation may be a step in that direction, but I'm not counting on much coming from it. It's pretty much the same ole, same ole coming out of the entrenched Lyme establishment. They are still hell-bent on denying anything persistently wrong with people bitten and infected by ticks, using contrived definitions and circular logic and patient smearing to do so - just as they've been doing for decades.
     
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  2. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    It seems that the more one learns, the less one knows. Anachronisms can conceal a great deal and present complex matters in a, post hoc, simplistic manner.

    We have the story of the Borrelia expert, who had studied these microbes for his PhD, discovering, in the tick Ixodes dammini, a new spirochaete, of the genus Borrelia, which was to be named after him.

    What we have in fact is a tick being described as a new species after the commencement of investigation into the new disease. As far as I can see, and I may be wrong, WB's studies were into Spirochaeta (not Borrelia) duttoni. Although information on this seems to be less readily available than one might expect, it appears that Spirochaeta duttoni was not classified as Borrelia duttoni until the taxonomic changes of 1984 that also saw Borrelia burgdorferi brought into the genus. There seem to be some who consider that Bb does not sit comfortably within this. Borrelia seems to have been expanded to include Bb just as Ixodes Scapularis was reduced to exclude it.

    The situation in 1981, with the classifications of the time, must therefore have appeared very different, with the arrival of the new organism similar to both Borrelia and Treponema but seemingly distinct from both, confounding the issues. At least the new organism was not displaying "hybrid vigour".

    It would have been interesting to know WB's views on the distinctions between both B duttoni and B burgdorferi and the remainder of Borrelia. One wonders whether he expressed them.
     
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  3. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Analyse des Infektionsverlaufes bei Ornithodorus moubata und der natürlichen Übertragung von Spirochaeta duttoni.
    Basel : Verlag für Recht und Gesellschaft, 1951.
    (Separatabdruck aus Acta Tropica, Basel, Bd. VIII, Heft 3, 1951.
    Doctoral thesis. Lead: Prof. R. Geigy.

    This is the tile and reference for WB's doctoral thesis. It proves my point about his study being into Spirochaete duttoni.

    I continue to have difficulty in believing that a post doc researcher would, within a year, be working on a top secret bio-warfare program unless he was specifically recruited for his interests, which must have coincided with those of his employer.
     
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  4. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    When I came across this passage, I was reminded of the incident described at p205 of the book when WB apparently contracted Lyme from the rabbit cages and said that "early treatment with antibiotics may have halted the immune system reaction the test measured".

    These most recent findings do confirm the development of membrane-derived cysts, blebs, spherules, vesicles and the potential transformation to motile, helical spirochetes, not as part of a complex developmental cycle -- as postulated by Dutton and associates -- but rather as a "survival mechanism" of spirochetes to overcome or escape unfavourable conditions. Such conditions prevail during early phases of infection when spirochetes ingested into the midgut of ticks or lice become exposed to the vectors' digestive enzymes and tissue barriers (peritrophic membrane, gut epithelium). As a result, most detectable spirochetes produce numerous cysts often filled with granular material.

    Other in vitro and in vivo factors shown to induce development of cysts include unsatisfactory culturing conditions, presence of antibodies and the effects of antibiotics.

    Using silver impregnations and immunochemical staining, cystic material has been demonstrated in every animal and human tissue infected by B burgdorferi. As yet, it is not known whether these forms of Borrelia represent products of degenerated spirochetes or of surviving organisms capable of transforming to typical spirochetes once the favourable environmental conditions are restored. It is tempting to speculate, however, that the survival mechanism of spirochetes is responsible for the diverse pathology of these organisms as well as for their ability to survive as cystic forms thereby producing prolonged, chronic and periodically recurrent disease.
    www.lymenet.de/literatur/12tbdconference/day1/day1.htm

    The Complexity of Arthropod-borne Spirochetes (Borrelia spp)

    Speaker: Willy Burgdorfer, PhD
    www.lymenet.de/literatur/12tbdconference/day1/day1.htm

    Was his level of knowledge commensurate with that of someone who had just over a year's knowledge of the pathogen, or does it suggest a deeper understanding?

    It also reminded me of @duncan 's "nematode" remark. It seems to have its own form of "dauer".




     
  5. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    The "Swiss agent " seems to be both more and less of a mystery than first imagined. Burgdorfer wrote the discovery up in December 1979

    Acta Trop. 1979 Dec;36(4):357-67.
    Ixodes ricinus: vector of a hitherto undescribed spotted fever group agent in Switzerland.
    Burgdorfer W, Aeschlimann A, Peter O, Hayes SF, Philip RN.
    Abstract
    A tick/rickettsial survey in various parts of Switzerland revealed the presence of a new, hitherto undescribed spotted fever group rickettsia ("Swiss agent") in up to 11.7% of I. ricinus collected off vegetation. Infection in ticks was found to be generalized with rickettsiae developing intracellularly and occasionally also intranuclearly. As a result of massive growth in ovarial tissues, including the germinative cells, the rate of transovarial and filial infection was 100%. The "Swiss agent" appears to be nonpathogenic for guinea pigs, domestic rabbits, and Swiss mice, but in male meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) it produces a microscopically detectable infection in the tunica vaginalis. The rickettsia grows well in tissue culture systems including chick embryo fibroblast, Vero, and vole tissue cells, when inoculated via yolk sac into 5-day-old hens' eggs, it kills 100% of the embryos after 5 to 7 days. Antigenic relatedness of the "Swiss agent" to rickettsiae of the spotted fever group was indicated by indirect and direct fluorescent antibody staining. Preliminary serologic typing by microimmunofluorescence and by microagglutination indicated that the "Swiss agent" differs from all prototype strains of spotted fever group rickettsiae studied so far.

    I have not yet located the full paper. There is therefor no mystery over the use of the term Swiss Agent. Burgdorfer cites this paper in his 1993 history. The only mystery concerns the US samples testing positive and their disappearance from the historical record in April 1980. I got the impression from "Bitten" that information about the Swiss agent was only published later, but will have to recheck-I can never find anything in that book without great difficulty.

    One wonders whether the disappearance could be connected to a further round of testing which must have occurred at RML at the time, of which WB must have been aware at the time, and which WB mentions in his 1982 paper.

    This induced Weber in Munich to have sera of 13 ECM patients evaluated against 14 rickettsial antigens by two different laboratories, namely the Institute of Virology in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia, where the complement fixation (CF) and the microagglutination (MA)tests were used, and the Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, Montana, where, in addition to the CF test, the microimmunofluorescence (MIF) test was used. With the exception of a few non diagnostic low titers against R. akari, the agent of rickettsialpox, and Coxiella burnetii, the cause of Q fever, all tests werenegative [12

    Weber's paper was published in 1981. However, this would seem to be inadequate reason for the disappearance. There seem to be too many strange lacunae in the story for it to be entirely coincidental.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2019
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  6. duncan

    duncan Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    You've made impressive headway with this, @chrisb.

    I am not well enough at the moment to try to dig thru the book, but what I seem to remember that might help is two things.

    First, my sense was WB was taken aback to see this particular rickettsial agent in the US. It had never been seen in the US prior to the late 70's.

    Second, although he nicknamed it the Swiss Agent, it only reminded him of the actual Switzerland Rickettsia because of its similarities - but I could be wrong about that.

    Either way, it's curious that it seems based on the study you've found that indications were likely the original Swiss Agent was nonpathogenic. WB clearly would have been familiar with his own conclusions. Yet we know WB was convinced this US version was the cause of "Lyme". Then, after a brief period and intra-agency consults, that changed.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2019
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  7. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    "@duncan sorry to hear you are not on good form and hope it is just one of those temporary setbacks. I shall keep digging and any comments to set me right are appreciated. I realise that attempts at problem solving can be rather tedious for others.

    It seems a rather complex story and full of odd coincidences. I hate story plotlines which are too dependent on coincidences.

    For the record, and to tidy up matters concerning Swiss Agent, I think that Bitten takes the first official reference to Swiss Agent to be this 1993 paper (open access PDF) establishing the new species, R Helvetica. It includes an occasional word that I recognise.

    https://www.microbiologyresearch.org/content/journal/ijsem/10.1099/00207713-43-3-521

    From the references in that paper it appears that R helvetica was originally proposed in 1985 in this paper.

    Peter, O., J. C. Williams, and W. Burgdorfer. 1985. Rickettsia helvetica, a new spotted fever group rickettsia: immunochemical analysis of the antigens of 5 spotted fever group rickettsiae, p. 99-105. In J. Kazar (ed.), Rickettsiae and rickettsial diseases. Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Czechoslovakia.

    Perhaps it was an indication of impending retirement that it was published in Bratislava. It would seem that by 1979 it was known that swiss agent was not R montana, or even sufficiently like it for there to be confusion.

    It appears that the name "Swiss Agent USA" was the creation of Newby (p131). My working hypothesis is that East Side Agent was WB's name which he used to distinguish between the two.

    It does seem strange that having gone to these lengths to discover the new agent in Switzerland equal interest is not shown in establishing possible prevalence within the USA.

    This is the point at which matters get complicated. I shall have to recheck the suggestion that WB was only "reminded" of Swiss Agent. The first impression is that it was much stronger than that.

    To get a better understanding, I have been reading the WB history, with which you will be familiar.
    https://history.nih.gov/archives/downloads/wburgdorfer.pdf
    The unavoidable question, which one asks repeatedly, is "why is this man lying?"

    It does seem unfortunate that, at the time of WB's discovery, Steere had just discovered the leptospira which might have led to more tick dissections, and discovery of other spirochaetes. It does seem odd that Steere is almost completely omitted from WB's story whilst someone else gets his name on a paper apparently for sending WB ticks from Wisconsin. It seems to have been a competitive, "cut throat" business.

    Burgdorfer could have had a career as a politician. He conceals more than he discloses.

    Sorry about the length of this, but there are so many issues
     
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  8. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    @duncan has there been discussion on the Lyme pages about WB's clear lies to his questioner about his involvement in Lyme research prior to 1981. It is on page 34 of the history:

    DB: And again, it sounds like prior to 1981 you weren't giving any serious thought or you weren't doing any research on Lyme disease.

    WB: No. I helped and I informed Dr. Steere and his medical entomologist, Dr. Main, about techniques involved in determining whether or not a pathogen is present in the tick population in Connecticut.

    He maintains that his sole interest was spotted fever.

    I get the strong impression that DB had been briefed about earlier involvement but that her remit was to allow him to tell his story in his way.

    Newby is quite specific and must have seen the evidence, "On April 12 1979, he quietly began testing Lyme patients' blood against the European Swiss agent antigen and known disease causing rickettsiae." There is further, later documentary evidence. He may have thought that Lyme was a type of spotted fever, but he could not deny that he was researching Lyme.

    This is not simply a question of Swiss agent going missing from the records, a whole two years' involvement are denied. That is bizarre, especially when there is documentary evidence in the records and other potential witnesses, who may, or may not, have spoken on the record about this.
     
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  9. duncan

    duncan Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    @chrisb, there was a flurry of activity surrounding Newby's book release in at least one major Lyme forum. I used to belong to several, but I stopped frequenting the others as it just got to be too much. But on that one, they did discuss to a degree the ramifications to WB, and some were not complimentary.

    Sorry, DB? I went to my page 34 and cannot see who DB is.

    I agree Newby isn't putting forth for public viewing everything she's come across - not the least of which is what she rests the idea of a chimera upon.

    Yeah, it's a bit disconcerting, isn't it, these gaps.
     
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  10. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    This is Deirdre Boggs of Historical Research Associates interviewing Dr. Willy Burgdorfer in Hamilton, Montana on July 10, 2001. The interview is being done at the request of the National Institutes of Health.
     
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  11. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I wondered whether she was holding things back for another project. Not sure how one should feel about that. On the one hand it may take time to sift through the details of the evidence, and to present it all at once may be unwieldy. On the other hand the evidence needs to be put out there.

    At least I have found a further justification for discussing this on an ME forum. It seems that one of the subjects which interested WB was tularemia, and he says, whether truly or not, that his involvement in matters military was in a defensive capacity. One of the Cluff, Canter, Imboden trio who first sparked my interest in these matters wrote a paper on a tularemia vaccine. I think it was 1972. Canter it was. This small world just became smaller.
     
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  12. duncan

    duncan Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Yes. I don't think you can, or should, just walk away from any given government's potential role. The bioweapon thing is so simple to dismiss out of hand as just another conspiracy angle. The problem is, in the world of Lyme at least, you don't need that angle. You can chalk this mess up to greed and legacy concerns. But it does tidy things up relative to some questions. The same potentially holds true for ME/CFS, ie, it would answer a few outstanding Why's - certainly we know that governments have wantonly averted scrutiny re: ME/CFS. A bioweapons tie-in is more tenuous here, and accordingly, potentially more hazardous.

    For the Lyme world, at least, it's getting more difficult to conveniently pretend the bioweapon potential doesn't exist, since the release of this book and that article and the new pending Rep. Chris Smith legislation etc.
     
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  13. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    WB certainly went in for some interesting experiments

    Experimental Infection of the African Relapsing Fever Tick, Ornithodoros moubata (Murray), with Borrelia latychevi (Sofiev).



    Author(s) : BURGDORFER, W. ; DAVIS, G. E.

    Journal article : Journal of Parasitology 1954 Vol.40 No.4 pp.456-460 pp. ref.4

    Abstract : A strain of Spirochaeta (Borrelia) latyschewi w as obtained from infected examples of Ornithodoros tartakovskyi Olenev sent to the author by Baltazard [cf. preceding abstract]. These ticks were fed on a white mouse, and other mice were infected by inoculation of its blood as soon as it was found to contain spirochaetes. Large numbers of second and fourth-stage nymphs and adults of O. moubata (Murr.) were fed on mice thus infected and were then kept at room temperature and a relative humidity of 79 per cent. A few were dissected each day and their organs were examined for spirochaetes, and haemolymph and coxal fluid from others were also examined. The haemolymph was obtained by amputating the distal portion of the legs, and the coxal fluid by applying a warm needle or forceps to the ventral surface of the ticks, which causes them to expel it. The examinations showed that the spiroehaetes persisted and multiplied in each of the stages studied. They were found consistently in the central ganglion, coxal organs and salivary glands, in the walls (but not the lumen) of the Mal-pighian tubes, and in the tissues of the genital system of female adults. They were also found in eggs and nymphs produced by infected females. They were often, but not always, found in the haemolymph of ticks of which the organs were infected.
    The occurrence of the spirochaetes in the salivary glands and coxal organs suggested that they might be transmitted by O. moubata, and several hundred ticks, almost all of which showed spirochaetes in the coxal fluid, were accordingly fed on white mice or new-born rabbits. There were 73 experiments, each with a batch of 3-10 ticks, but none of the animals became infected. Further experiments indicated that these negative results were due to a loss of virulence of the spirochaetes in O. moubata rather than to its failure to transmit them, since infection was produced in all mice and new-born rabbits that were inoculated with blood from a mouse infected by O. tartakovskyi and in only a small minority of those that were inoculated with suspensions of infected examples of O. moubata.
    ISSN : 0022-3395

    DOI : 10.2307/3273896

    This is one of WB's early papers and is interesting. After 1978 Burgdorfer should have known he might be looking for spirochetes, given the European evidence, of which he was aware. Given this research he did with Davis in 1954 he knew that his haemolymph test was not entirely reliable. Perhaps he placed less reliance on the test than is suggested, but perhaps not. It all looks strange. It appeared to come as a surprise to him that spirochetes could be present, in his 1981 tick, but not showing up in the haemolymph. It should not have done.

    One can only speculate on the purpose of this research.


    When it comes to presentation of evidence WB seems to favour a style which gives rise to suspicion, which may be unjustified. In his 1984 paper he wrote

    Remembering the European literature, I could not dismiss the thought that the microfilariae did lead me to the discovery of the long-sought cause of ECM and Lyme disease.

    This led me to trying to find the European literature to which he referred. It rather looks as though he was referring to his own paper

    https://www.scopus.com/record/displ...inward&txGid=f3bf7013611bb760c0dccdc90d964f47

    Acta TropicaVolume 36, Issue 2, 1979, Pages 181-191
    New aspects of the role of the vector played by Ixodes ricinus L. in Switzerland. Preliminary note

    In this article, we describe the existence in the hemolymphe of different I.ricinus populations, of a rickettsia species related to the RMST group (Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever), of a trypanosome, which is close to T.theileri, and of an infectious larval form (L3) of Dipetalonema rugosicauda. An outline is suggested with the object of illustrating the functioning of a natural foci of tick encephalitis. The biological significance of the unusual presence of trypanosomes and of larval filariae in ticks is also discussed....


    It does seem strange that he indicates the significance of this evidence, and then makes it extremely difficult to find it. Unfortunately I have not found the full paper. Presumably it was not modesty which prevented him from quoting his own papers. I thought scientists were supposed to leave a "paper-trail".
     
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  14. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I am becoming uneasy about the evidence which apparently led to WB's questioning by Tim Grey in 2013 and the claims that, first, WB had been involved in the recombination of four different pathogens, two being spirochetal and two viral and, secondly, that Bb has the potential for biological warfare and "was the same pathogen, or a generational mutation, of the one you (WB) published in the paper from 1952".

    The background to this is the claim that there are papers from 1956 and 1952, respectively, supporting the claims. Rather surprisingly Newby does not cite references for the papers. Unless there are more papers, which are not on the PubMed list, the two most relevant papers both appear to be from 1954.

    One of these is the one above relating to B latychevi. The other relates to the growing of Coxiella burnettii, Bacterium tularense, Leptospira icteohaemorrhaghiae and Western Equine encephalitis virus. https://sci-hub.se/10.1093/infdis/94.1.84

    The problems with these papers, apart from the dates, and the pathogens not being all spirochetal or viral, is that the first seems to involve the wrong species of ticks and the second does not claim to combine the four pathogens in a single tick, although that possibility may be implied. Different experiments put the different pathogens in different ticks. This would possibly have civilian or defensive uses.

    If there are other papers substantiating the claims the references should have been given.

    All this does not diminish the fact that WB seems to have been less than truthful about his involvement with Fort Detrick and his involvement in Lyme research before his "serendipitous" discovery in 1981. There are still mysteries aplenty.
     
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  15. duncan

    duncan Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Newby may have gotten the dates wrong, as well as the nature of the papers. Alternatively, the two papers she noted aren't on PubMed.

    I would be curious to see where this goes. As you are aware, she seems to embrace the chimera solution. I do not understand why, since I don't think it's necessary, ie, Steere and Company have since Day One demonstrated a more or less persistent inability to consistently eradicate Bb. Moreover, the weird carry-over of unreliable diagnostic metrics and dubious treatments to other TBD's like babesiosis and bartonella seem to speak to the "fiddling" with multiple pathogens. This is further re-enforced with the purported simultaneous appearance of both Lyme and Babesia in NY at the close of the 1960's.
     
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  16. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    It always seemed to me unlikely that papers about what was "really" going on would be published. Anything published would either not hve worked or been intended to show the solid basic work being conducted.

    The difficulty which I see with a "friendly fire" hypothesis is that if they were trying to develop a weapon there would not have been much point putting it in Ixodes dammini/scapularis. They would have put it in something endemic for the area of potential use.

    One does wonder what WB could have been up to at Fort Detrick that made him deny his presence there. Theree seems to have been no absolute ban on revealing involvement. The obituaries of both Shope and Cluff acknowledge that they were there at the same time as WB. It could be down to the degree of "classification" or guilt.

    Over the years has anyone questioned that bizarre comment by WB in his EDIT1984 paper that the sight of the large roundworm reminded him of the European literature? It makes no sense. Memory does not work like that. It seems unlikely that an aged Marcel Proust would have remarked that the taste of his madeleine reminded him of a book he had once read. It is just too contrived. Its a pity because he seems a decent man caught up by events.

    And as for Steere not recalling the reasons for abandoning the Swiss agent.....they had been working on this for 8 or 9 months.....people make notes or memoranda of telephone conversations and affix them to the file.....it does not seem right.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2019
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  17. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    It will be interesting to see where this goes. I think all we can do at this stage is keep following the evidence, hard as that is to do. Deliberately so, it would seem.

    I have become intrigued by this in the NIH history of WB in relation to the person who is credited in the Science paper:

    WB: Oh yeah. Then there was Dr. Davis. I worked with him on ticks from Wisconsin and we evaluated sera from patients who did have Lyme disorders. I felt he also should be credited for his collaboration.

    According to WB in that history he had no interest in Lyme before spotting his spirochete. That was supposedly on Nov 5 1981. The Science paper was first received for publication on Feb 26 1982, although later amended. That is a very narrow window in which to have been working on tickss from Wisconsin, which get no mention in the paper, if as claimed WB had no interest in Lyme before November 1981. It seems feasible that he helped evaluate sera, though it is surprising that they had to go to someone from Wisconsin to do this.

    We seem to be dealing with a situation where the chief witness is economical with the truth, people who could correct the record choose to remain silent, and the corroborative documentary evidence is, for reasons unknown, unavailable. We must draw our own conclusions.
     
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  18. duncan

    duncan Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    He also would have worked on "local" ticks for Rickettsia etc, for many years before that.
     
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  19. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Yes, but that is my point. According to the story that had nothing to do with Lyme and must have been about Spotted Fever. How would that justify credit for finding something they were not looking for? It's all a sham, of course.

    For some reason the story of Montagnier and Gallo crossed my mind today.
     
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  20. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    On reflection the behaviour which I had naively put down as inexplicable seems to be clearly the result of some non disclosure agreement arising out of some settlement. It would be interesting to know the date and the parties. Would it have been 1984 (appropriately) or earlier? Who would have been the parties?

    Perhaps this was known thirty years ago.
     
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