Infection-Chronic Disease Link

In "The Infection-Chronic Disease Link Strengthens,"1 there are comments about the utility of Koch's postulates: "The first criterion remains--the microbial culprit must be present. But the requirements to culture microorganisms and demonstrate infectivity may have become obsolete." This would almost seem to go against the scientific method, since it seems to imply that testing one's hypothesis does not require exhaustive attempts at falsification, the fundamental basis of the scientific

Todd Miller
Sep 17, 2000

In "The Infection-Chronic Disease Link Strengthens,"1 there are comments about the utility of Koch's postulates: "The first criterion remains--the microbial culprit must be present. But the requirements to culture microorganisms and demonstrate infectivity may have become obsolete."

This would almost seem to go against the scientific method, since it seems to imply that testing one's hypothesis does not require exhaustive attempts at falsification, the fundamental basis of the scientific method. Why would scientists NOT want to demonstrate infectivity of an agent that they propose is indeed infectious? Koch's postulates have served us very well for over 100 years. Is it that they are really obsolete, or do scientists really need an explanation for their inability to demonstrate infectivity of their hypothetical pathogenic microbes? Are there too many dollars at stake to apply standard, rigorous scientific standards?

I think it is a slippery slope to start dismissing established postulates, which...

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