28.4 correspondence nr

28.4 Correspondence NR 25/4/05 4:57 pm Page 1067 correspondence
A drug is effective if better than a harmless controlValid trials can still be held, as with HIVNET 012, when ethics rules out a placebo group.
Sir — In his Correspondence letter “HIV is not harmful (thus replacing a placebo), the effectiveness of the experimental drug trial” (Nature 434, 137; 2005), Valendar
Turner asks on what basis it can be claimed et al. Lancet 353, 773–780; 1999).
course of zidovudine was used as the active is effective in reducing mother-to-infant to be enrolled in the two active drug arms, control. Many studies had already reported Institutes of Health, the French National birth before discontinuation of the placebo the high variability in reported historical arm, the transmission rate at 6–8 weeks group and 7% in the nevirapine group.
(The 6–8-week transmission rates at the US Institute of Medicine panel — between placebo in other studies starting at least similar in efficacy, it is not possible to effective or equally ineffective — unless and a single dose to the baby shortly after there is clear evidence that the control birth), or a very short course of zidovudine from the onset of labour through the first Brooks Jackson*, Thomas Fleming†
week of the baby’s life, or a placebo.
the active control has not been established *Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 600 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21287, USA University of Washington, Box 357232, that a short course of zidovudine, given found to be superior to a control that itself DNA barcoding does not
Nice planet, shame about
on the study of curated voucher specimens, compete with taxonomy
high-resolution digital images, collection the human race
locality data and other information.
Sir — M. C. Ebach and C. Holdrege, in Sir — Inspired by Stephen Baxter’s Futures story “Under martian ice” (Nature 433,
substitute for taxonomy” Nature 434, 697;
668; 2005), we began to discuss the Fermi 2005), express some key misunderstandings paradox: that if aliens exist, they would been funded by agencies that do not have have visited everywhere by now, including coding programme would — and especially a tradition of supporting taxonomic work.
are already achieving positive results, albeit be a ‘big science’ programme, and as such on a relatively small scale. If implemented of similar scale from physics, medicine and the Universe is the way it is because we are here to observe it — we propose the directed toward the collection and curation misanthropic principle as the resolution classification, and thus differs fundamentally Randall D. Kamien, Madhuri Kaul
Department of Physics and Astronomy, has the potential to inject significant new 209 South 33rd Street, University of Pennsylvania, species within previously unstudied taxa.
T. Ryan Gregory
Department of Integrative Biology, University of Contributions to Correspondence may be submitted Guelph, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1, Canada to [email protected].
NATURE | VOL 434 | 28 APRIL 2005 | www.nature.com/nature 2005 Nature Publishing Group
2005 Nature Publishing Group

Source: http://zeus.calacademy.org:8080/CAS+Fridays/050504_151052/Gregory+2005+Nature+response.pdf


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