The four-paragraph letter in Science last week (January 23) partially retracting the 2002 Science paper by David D. Ho and colleagues identifying the elusive CD8+ cell antiviral factor (CAF) generated headlines, but other researchers in the field said it confirmed what they had suspected for some time. The letter reported that the compounds, called α-defensins 1, 2, and 3, were actually from neutrophils in the cell culture being used, rather than being CAF.

Ralf Geiben-Lynn, founder of Acceleration Biopharmaceuticals in Boston, a startup company trying to commercialize an anti-HIV activity he discovered in CD8+ cultures, said that HIV researchers were not surprised by the partial retraction. They had been skeptical from the first announcement of that work, he told The Scientist.

Jay A. Levy, of the University of California, San Francisco, after reading a preprint of the 2002 paper, had told Ho to “Be careful,” Levy told...

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