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Nobel laureate Montagnier takes homeopathy seriously

In a truly remarkable interview published in SCIENCE magazine of 24 December, Professor Luc Montagnier, a French virologist who co-discovered HIV and who won the Nobel Prize in 2008, describes his newest work that has significant implications on homeopathy.

Montagnier, who is also founder and president of the World Foundation for AIDS Research and Prevention, makes the following strong statement for homeopathy and homeopathic doses: "I can't say that homeopathy is right in everything. What I can say now is that the high dilutions are right. High dilutions of something are not nothing. They are water structures which mimic the original molecules."

In a study that was published in 2009, Montagnier demonstrated that some bacterial DNA sequences are able to induce electromagnetic waves, even at high aqueous dilutions up to 10^-18. This study was an important contribution to the growing evidence base in fundamental research with direct relevance to homeopathy.

Montagnier will take on the leadership of a new research institute at Jiaotong University in Shanghai and plans to study the phenomenon of electromagnetic waves produced by DNA in water. His research team will study both the theoretical basis and the possible applications in medicine.

In the interview Montagnier says that he cannot pursue this research in France because he does not have much funding there. Because of French retirement laws, he is no longer allowed to work at a public institute. But there is another reason as well. When he applied for funding from other sources, he was turned down. Montagnier argued that there is a kind of fear around this topic in Europe.

In this context he refers to Dr Jacques Benveniste, a French physician/scientist who conducted research on homeopathic doses. Montagnier regards him as a "modern Galileo." "Benveniste was rejected by everybody, because he was too far ahead. He lost everything, his lab, his money. … I think he was mostly right, but the problem was that his results weren't 100% reproducible." "I am told that some people have reproduced Benveniste's results, but they are afraid to publish it because of the intellectual terror from people who don't understand it."

Is Montagnier worried that his colleagues will think he has drifted into pseudoscience? He replies adamantly: "No, because it's not pseudoscience. It's not quackery. These are real phenomena which deserve further study."

The whole interview is available at the website of Science magazine.

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