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Candace B. Pert

it’s missing a major chunk of it in the middle. Now those people who have that mutation, no matter what risky behavior they indulge in, they do not get HIV disease. Isn’t that interesting?

David:   Extremely. I didn’t know that.

Candace: Then, of course, you can show clearly in the test tube that you can artificially make cells that have this receptor and they will become readily infected with the viruses that use this receptor. And if the cells don’t have the receptor then they don’t. That’s summarizing like hundreds and hundreds of papers that elegantly address this, so there’s no doubt that HIV causes AIDS. Duesberg may not like some of the HIV virologists, and their style and all, but it’s just so silly. And it’s sad, because they’ve created a movement that’s been very destructive. My understanding is that out in California some of these people are like Luddites. Some of the activists–not all of them, but some small percentage–have gotten this into their head, and have stormed research labs. They’ve gotten very angry and very crazy, and it’s complete rubbish. I have no doubt in my mind. I’m a hundred percent sure about this.

David:   Why do you think its important to question authority?

Candace: Because the experts are usually wrong (laughter)–often they’re wrong–at least experts on disease, because if the experts knew so much about the disease then the disease would be cured. But, by definition, the experts are the guardians. They become the gate keepers on what kind of research goes on, and what kind ideas are right and wrong about a disease. What I’ve experienced and observed is the longer that a disease has been around, been studied, and had money thrown at it, the more hardened and more difficult it is to get any kind of novel idea in there. This is the case for a lot of the neurological diseases, and there’s all these mythologies. There’s all kinds of data, but people keep studying the same systems. So you should question authority because the experts aren’t always right.

David:   What are you currently working on?

Candace: I’m currently working the AIDS drug that I invented with Michael Ruff in 1986. We have recently published the results from a small clinical trial in the journal Peptides, in which we observed the amazing result that the drug dramatically reduced the amount of virus-forming potential, viruses hiding inside the cellular reservoirs in the blood. It’s been known that even the state-of-the art therapy, which greatly reduces the amount of virus that’s loose in the blood, doesn’t touch this reservoir. So, basically, we are now in the process of organizing new trials to replicate this finding in a large double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

David:   That’s really exciting.

Candace: Yeah, so we’re on this, man. I finish everything I start, and if God gave me this unbelievable gift, we will finish it. Then we’re also exploring other aspects of the drug. I mentioned that it turns out that chemokines and chemokine receptors have an important role to play in the normal and inflamed brain, so there’s all kinds of spin-offs into the possibility of treating neurological disease like Alzheimer’s Disease and others with Peptide T or analogues of Peptide T. So it’s weird. I’ve actually gone back into straight science. This year I’ve been to all the major neuroscience meetings that I used to go to years ago, and yet I’m somehow fusing that with my–I want to say my ‘New Age persona’, or my ‘new paradigm-thinking’ person. It’s like I’m starting to feel more and more okay about doing both and being both.

David:   I think what you’re doing is extraordinary. It’s truly amazing the way you’ve been able to bridge those two worlds. When I studied neuroscience in graduate school we couldn’t even talk about consciousness. It was completely taboo–unless one was referring to an animal being “conscious” or “unconscious”. I’m really in awe of what

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