Norman Allan
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A letter to the
British Journal Homeopathy

Binding of Ultradilute Viral DNA:
a demonstration of homeopathic "potentization"


In the late nineteen-eighties Mounir AbouHaidar and Mohammed Eweida (MAME) were working on an assay to detect minute quantities of specific viral DNA. Figure 1 is an example of the "dot-blots" they prepared using potato virus S published in the Journal of Virological Methods.

While engaged in this work, they stumbled upon a homeopathic ultradilution phenomenon in their dot-blots. Ultradilute spots on their targets, at particular dilutions, would bind their complementary molecular DNA probe, as in figure 2, where binding is seen at 10-16 and 10-26, and figure 3 with binding at 10-15 and 10-16

During the autumn of 1988 and the winter and spring of 1989 they saw this phenomenon consistently. For the Journal of Virological Methods, and for their other focused papers MAME edited out the ultradilutions. However, they submitted a paper on the phenomenon to Nature in the spring of 1989. Nature sat on the paper for half a year and then, when proded, rejected it. In 1990 they submitted the paper to Science, which likewise declined to publish.

I have discussed the context of this discovery, and some of its implications, at length in an essay, "Beyond Substance"


     Fig 2
    Fig 3

In June of 1989 AbouHaidar moved his laboratory. In the new lab the phenomenon was no longer robust, and the work was abandoned. (Again, these circumstances are discussed in the cited essay.)

Clinical trials indicate that there is real phenomenon involved in the "potentization" of homeopathic remedies by ultradilution. Beneveniste's 1988 Nature paper on basophil degranulation with ultradilute antigen was "debunked" by the editors, but not refuted or explained. It would be interesting to find out if the Eweida AbouHaidar ultradilution effect can be replicated and, through this, how homeopathy works. If several labs try the assay, that would provide a measure of how robust homeopathic phenomena in a laboratory environment. I can think of no better way of accomplishing this than to ask the Journal to publish a letter like this.

I would like to ask the Journal to invite researchers working with dot-blot (and other methodologies involving serial dilution) to take those dilutions out to the10-30 or 10-40 (a process which involves relatively little extra work) and report back to the journal on their finding.

Dr. Norman Allan


1  M. Eweida et al. J.Virological Methods, 26 (1989) 35-44 "Highly sensitive and specific non-radioactive biotinylated probes for dot-blot, Southern and colony hybridizations"