LETTER:Evidence backs first Aids case

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The Independent Online
From Dr John Leonard and

Dr Trevor Stretton

Sir: As clinicians responsible for the care of the patient described as "the world's first case of Aids" (front-page article, 24 March), we wish to affirm our total confidence in the integrity of our pathologist colleague Dr George Williams. The suggestion that there was deliberate tampering with the scientific evidence is unworthy of your paper; scarcely less credible is the alternative implication that tissue samples in such a sensitive and unique patient were mixed up in the laboratory. We also find it strange that Professor David Ho [director of the Aaron Diamond Aids Research Center, New York] should have chosen to reveal his findings to a daily newspaper rather than in a medical or scientific journal, where they could be properly evaluated by those qualified to comment.

Whatever the ultimate conclusions of the virologists may be, we remain confident that our patient in 1959 did indeed suffer from the condition now known as Aids. Your headline "World's first Aids case was false" is both misleading and unsubstantiated by the medical and virological evidence presently available.

Yours faithfully,

JOHN LEONARD

Hopesay, Shropshire

TREVOR STRETTON

Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire

25 March

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