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Echoes of Lysenko: State-sponsored pseudo-science in South Africa

Year: 2006
Working paper number: 149
Author: Geffen, Nathan
Unit: ASRU
Abstract:

A major factor hampering the rollout of highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART) for HIV/AIDS in the public health sector is state support of pseudo-science. This paper examines state-sponsored pseudo-science in South Africa with a particular focus on the case of Matthias Rath and his claim that HAART is an ineffective and harmful form of treatment and that multivitamins should instead be used as a substitute to treat and cure AIDS.  The paper examines similarities and differences between state support in South Africa for AIDS-denialists such as Rath and state support in the former Soviet Union for Lysenko, a pseudo-scientist who lacked scientific training. In both cases, state support for pseudo-science has had policy implications, and resulted in many deaths.


Publication file: wp149.pdf
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