Dissident AIDS Database

NIAID paper : HIV causes AIDSDeveloped countriesSurvival with AZT/PIsFischl study
The chemical bases of the various AIDS epidemics: recreational drugs, anti-viral chemotherapy and malnutrition
 DUESBERG PETER, KOEHNLEIN CLAUS, RASNICK DAVID
  (Fischl M A, Richman D D, et al and the AZT Collaborative Working Group 1987 The efficacy of azidothymidine (AZT) in the treatment of patients with AIDS and AIDS-related complex; N. Engl. J. Med. 317 185–191) The licensing study of AZT, performed in 1987 by the NIH in collaboration with the drug’s manufacturer Burroughs Wellcome in the US, is the primary placebocontrolled study set-up to test the ability of AZT to reduce the mortality of AIDS. The study showed that, after 4 months on AZT, 1 out of 145 AIDS patients died, whereas 19 out of 139 died in the placebo group. The study interpreted this result as evidence for reduced mortality by AZT. However, this interpretation failed to consider that among the 4- month-survivors of AZT, 30 could only be kept alive with multiple blood transfusions because their red cells had been depleted by AZT below survivable levels. Thus, without lifesaving transfusions 30 more AZT-recipients would have died from anemia. In addition many AZT recipients had developed life-threatening bone marrow suppression, neutropenia, macrocytosis, headaches, insomnia and myalgia, that augured poorly for their future survival (Richman D D, et al and the AZT Collaborative Working Group 1987 The toxicity of azidothymidine (AZT) in the treatment of patients with AIDS and AIDS-related complex; N. Engl. J. Med. 317 192–197). Indeed, the low mortality of 1/145 reported for the first 4 months on AZT, could not be maintained in a follow-up study, which found the “survival benefits” of AZT rapidly declining after the original 4 months period. By 21 months, 42% of the original AZT group had died and 35% of the control group, which by then had also received AZT for 12 months on a “compassionate” basis (Fischl M A, Richman D D et al and the AZT Collaborative working Group 1989 Prolonged zidovudine therapy in patients with AIDS and advanced AIDS-related complex; Jama 262 2405–2410). Thus the placebo-controlled, licensing study did not prove that AZT “reduces AIDS mortality by more than 80%” compared to the untreated control.
  J. Biosc, Vol. 28 No. 4, June 2003, 383–4122003