We repeat: “Where is the proof for HIV purification by any method?" 26 June 2003
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Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos,
Biophysicist
Department of Medical Physics, Royal Perth Hospital, Western Australia,
Valendar F Turner, John Papadimitriou, Barry Page, David Causer, Helman Alfonso

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Re: We repeat: “Where is the proof for HIV purification by any method?"

We repeat: “Where is the proof for HIV purification by any method?”

 

In his rapid response entitled “If it’s Good Enough for RSV, Then it is Good Enough for HIV” (24 June 2003), Tony Floyd wrote:

“It has been posited [sic posted] above [presumably he is referring to our rapid response “Distinguishing between true and “official” HIV infection” 20 June 2003] that:

>an individual positive in New York City on the CDC criteria would not be positive in Sydney, Australia”.

He comments “How extraordinary”.  We agree.  It’s the same virus and the same test.  Who would have ever thought travel or emigration could cure HIV infection?   The HIV antibody test is the only test in the history of medicine whose results have one meaning in one country or laboratory and another in another country or laboratory.   What is even more extraordinary is that this fact does not seem to worry the HIV experts.

 

Tony Floyd asks “Is there even one patient that you are aware of that this theory would apply to?”

This is not a theory.  It is a conclusion based on published data.  In a study entitled "False-Positive and Indeterminate Human Immunodeficiency Virus Test Results in Pregnant Women" published in 2000, the authors from the Departments of Paediatrics and Family Practice, University of Texas wrote:  "Under no circumstances should a patient be informed that she is infected unless both the ELISA and WB test results are positive...Testing for HIV is an emotional experience.  An HIV diagnosis may lead to depression, fear, anger and suicidal ideation.  Family, friends and community may ostracise infected people, and relationships with spouses or partners may be jeopardised.  An indeterminate result can cause the same problems if the physician misinterprets the result as being indicative of infection". (1)   They also pointed out that "It is possible for serum to be positive by one set of criteria and indeterminate by another" (1).

 

The study “Transmission of Human T-Cell Lymphotropic Virus Type III (HTLV-III) by Artificial Insemination by Donor” (2) is considered to be one of the first to prove infectivity by semen and has been quoted ever since in support of this claim.   The donor was considered as being positive on the basis of two bands (p41, p24) in the WB.   Four of the women were considered to have been infected, two on the presence of only one band (one woman had p41 and the other woman had p24), the other two women on the basis of two bands (p41 and p24).   At that time, the WB criteria was the presence of one band.   In 1987 the criteria were changed but nobody re-tested either these women or (to our knowledge) any other person deemed to be infected on the basis of the pre-1987 criteria.

 

Tony Floyd asks: “Is there anyone who, confirmed positive by all tests in New York, would then not be positive by the usual series of tests in Sydney?”

Answer:  What does Tony Floyd mean by “all tests”?  Both the US and Australia use the same testing algorithm.  The “usual series of tests” is a twice reactive ELISA followed by a positive Western blot.  There are many publications (Tony Floyd can look them up) in which a particular study states its criteria for a positive WB.  These include those of the CDC and interestingly that of the Multi-Center AIDS Cohort studies prior to the early 1990s.  In the latter one “strong” band was defined a positive WB.  Assuming some of the 5000 gay men tested in this study fulfilled this or the CDC criteria (the actual WB patterns are never published) then yes, an unknown number of individuals, who tested positive in the US, would not be positive in Australia.  (Has Tony Floyd ever wondered  how our National Reference Laboratory knows its criteria are proof of infection?  He could email the Director and report back to this forum http://www.nrl.gov.au).

Tony Floyd asks: “Or is it just a one-in-a-million hypothetical?   In which case it deserves as much attention as the plethora of other alternative AIDS arguments”.

There is nothing hypothetical about these data and there is no need for a “plethora of” “alternative AIDS arguments”.  Any argument about a retroviral theory of AIDS begins with whether or not there is such a retrovirus.

 

Tony Floyd also wrote:

“The attempted side-step of Brian Foley's question deserves attention:

What he asked was:

> If the Perth group believes that their method is valid for studying viruses, they should be able to name at least one virus which has been studied using their criteria. Where is the evidence that ANY virus has EVER been "purified" to their satisfaction?

This was in no way satisfied by merely providing references to a paper from 1961 about the Rous Sarcoma Virus and from 1973 about the Murine Sarcoma Virus.”

 

Brian Foley asked for evidence and anyone (including Tony Floyd) upon reading the two references in our rapid response entitled “Where is the proof for HIV purification by any method?” (19 June 2003) would be “satisfied”.

If Tony Floyd had read our rapid response (19 June 2003) carefully, he would have realized that there was no need to give any “indication” “as to why the papers might support the use of Density Gradient Centrifugation as a valid means of proving the existence any virus these days?”   As we pointed out in our rapid response (19 June 2003), “Density Gradient Centrifugation” has not been used only in 1961 and 1973 but has been the “preferred technique for purification of RTV” for at least the last 30 years.   This was the method used in the first studies (1983/1984)  (3), (4), (5) where HIV purification was claimed as well as in the last ones (1997) (6), (7).

 

Tony Floyd wrote:

“Why have even the two little known viruses mentioned not been associated with this separation technique in the last 30 years?”

 

The simple answer to this question is that there is no need for it any more.   The Rous Sarcoma Virus, as every virologist knows, is not a “little known” virus but (perhaps with the exception of “HIV”) the best known retrovirus for which Nobel prizes have been awarded.  

 

Tony Floyd wrote:

“If you did cite the 1961 paper on Rous Sarcoma Virus as an example of a virus purified to your satisfaction, is it not ironic that RSV is a retrovirus very similar to HIV? In fact the fusion protein and an envelope glycoprotein precursor have been shown to be similar in both viruses(1)”

 

It appears that this time Tony Floyd did not ever bother to read the abstract but only the title of his reference 1 (8).   If he had read it, he would have realised that the abbreviation RSV in the title of his reference has nothing to do with the abbreviation RSV for the Rous Sarcoma Virus.   The first sentence of the abstract reads:

“The proteolytic cleavage sites of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) envelope glycoprotein precursor gp160 and the fusion protein of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) show a sequence homology.”

 

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is not a retrovirus but a virus belonging to the family paramyxoviridae, genus pneumovirus.  

 

Tony Floyd wrote:

“If you are satisfied about the purification of RSV, then why is HIV so different?”

There has been no publications of electron micrographs proving purification of HIV.  

 

Tony Floyd wrote:

“Do you except [sic accept] that there might be a chance that all the infectious disease experts, virologists and vaccine developers around the world are working with a very real virus called HIV?”

All “the infectious disease experts, virologists and vaccine developers” are telling us that Montagnier proved the existence of a “real virus called HIV”.   However, Montagnier acknowledges that to prove the existence of a retrovirus, it must be purified.   Since now Montagnier says that “I repeat, we did not purify” (9), why should we or for that matter anyone else including Tony Floyd accept the existence of a “very real virus called HIV”?

 

So the question still remains: “Where is the proof for HIV purification by any method?”

 

 

From the title of his rapid response entitled “Faster Progression to AIDS and Death Occurs in Those With Higher Levels of HIV VIRUS” (4 June 2003), Tony Floyd obviously believes that high “viral load” means high “levels of HIV virus”.    Could he please give us the evidence which proves that high “viral load” means high “levels of HIV VIRUS”.

 

 

In his rapid response entitled “Manipulations and misrepresentation of scientific facts only serve to fuel HIV/AIDS” (30 May 2003), Tony Floyd extensively quotes William Makgoba’s statement made in the South African newspaper, THE SUNDAY INDEPENDENT, and finishes by saying: “Glad the truth is getting through where it matters most”.

 

Below is our answer published in THE SUNDAY INDEPENDENT, June 15 2003:

 

How to resolve Aids dispute once and for all

 

In his speech at the International Human Rights Network symposium in Switzerland (“Mixed signals on Aids eroding confidence”, The Sunday Independent, May 25), Professor Malegapuru Makgoba put the question “A nutrition handbook, an African potato and some red herrings – are these really South Africa’s responses to the HIV/Aids epidemic?” 

A better question necessitating an immediate answer is “Why are nevirapine and AZT monotherapy good enough treatment for South African women but not American women”?

Makgoba expressed the view “there has been a casting about for theories to contradict the orthodox scientific findings on HIV/Aids, such as the countenancing of discredited dissident theories”. 

Scientific theories are discredited in scientific journals with scientific data. 

For over fifteen years we have questioned the HIV theory of AIDS and published alternative theories.  Yet to date no HIV experts have published any scientific data which discredit our views. 

Furthermore, they have done everything possible to prevent our publishing and continue to claim, as Makgoba reportedly said, “There is little doubt that HIV causes AIDS.  In contrast, there is no evidence that common African conditions such as poverty; malnutrition; and many chronic infectious diseases by themselves, singly or in combination, cause the characteristic immunodeficiency typical of Aids.”, that is, “the progressive depletion of CD4+ cells”.

It is a great pity Makgoba failed to consider the eminent HIV/AIDS expert Piot and his group writing in Lancet in 1984. “Tuberculosis, protein calorie malnutrition, and various parasitic diseases can all be associated with depression of cellular immunity.” 

At the same time, similar views were expressed by other HIV/AIDS experts such as Clumeck, Biggar and Quinn.  As far back as 1987 Canadian researchers stressed that before the AIDS era it was known that "In TB as well as in lepromatous leprosy, an immunosuppressive state will frequently develop in the host. This state is characterised by T lymphopenia with a decreased number of T helper cells [T4 cells] and an inverted T-helper/T-suppressor cell ratio ...Immunosuppression induced by the infection with M.tuberculosis can persist for life, even when the TB is not progressive".  

The same researchers noted that TB was present “prior to infection with HIV [prior to the development of a positive antibody test] or development of overt AIDS” (Before 1987 TB was not an AIDS defining disease). 

In other words, the presence of TB leads to a decrease in T4 cells and the positive antibody test (“HIV infection”) follows rather than precedes TB.  In 1994  Essex and his colleagues proved that mycobacterial infections lead to the appearance of a positive antibody test which HIV experts consider proof for HIV infection.  They concluded that “ELISA and WB results [the two antibody tests used to prove HIV infection] should be interpreted with caution when screening individuals infected with M. tuberculosis or other mycobacterial species”, and that “ELISA and WB may not be sufficient for HIV diagnosis in AIDS-endemic areas of Central Africa where the prevalence of mycobacterial diseases is quite high”.

According to a 1998 Lancet editorial, the developing world "bears more than 90% of the global burden of HIV infection" and "Tuberculosis (TB) is the leading cause of death worldwide among people with HIV".  Professor Abdool Karim has written that in South Africa “Clinically, pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) is the main presenting illness among HIV infected persons”. 

If this is the case then the vast majority of cases of HIV/AIDS can be eliminated simply by eradicating TB.  This can only be achieved by abolishing poverty and its consequences. 

Could Makgoba please provide us with one single scientific study with evidence proving HIV is the cause of AIDS?  With no effort spared to date we have been unable to find such a study. 

Also could Makgoba cite one scientific study with the evidence which proves HIV has been isolated/purified and thus it exists.

According to Makgoba, “Scientific and political controversy over HIV/Aids in particular is also not new.  In the late 1980s, for example, French and American scientists were locked in ugly battles about who first isolated the HI virus... After detailed investigation and scrutiny of the scientific literature and laboratory notes, then presidents Ronald Reagan of the United States and Francois Mitterrand of France signed an agreement that credited Dr Robert Gallo and Dr Luc Montagnier as the co-discoverers of HIV”. 

Indeed, Montagnier’s group in 1983 and Gallo’s group in 1984 claimed to have isolated HIV, that is, to have obtained the HIV particles separate from everything else, namely, to have purified the HIV virus.   In a 1997 the French investigative journalist Djamel Tahi interviewed Montagnier over his 1983 Science paper where he claimed to have discovered HIV.  After repeated questioning Montagnier gave the stunning response that in electron micrographs of what they called “purified virus”, even after a “Roman effort” they could not find any particles with “the morphology typical of retroviruses”. 

He added “I repeat we did not purify!”   When Montagnier was asked if Gallo isolated/purified HIV, he replied “Gallo?…I don’t know if he really purified.  I don’t believe so”.

The lack of proof of HIV isolation/purification and thus of its existence by “the co-discoverers of HIV” led us to propose an isolation experiment at the July 2000 Presidential AIDS Advisory Panel Meeting in Johannesburg.  This was to be carried out jointly by the Perth Group and HIV experts from South Africa.  It was agreed by both sides including Makgoba that this experiment should be performed as proof for the existence of HIV is the most basic tenet of the HIV theory of AIDS. 

The cost of this experiment is insignificant compared to the amount the South African government spends on HIV/AIDS.  Since then, the HIV experts from South Africa and especially Makgoba have done everything possible to prevent this experiment being carried out.  Why?  Is this not the way to resolve the issue once and for all?” (10)

 

 

References:

(1)   Doran TI, Parra E. (2000). False-positive and indeterminate human immunodeficiency virus test results in pregnant women. Archives of Family Medicine 9:924-9.

(2)   Stewart, GJ, Cunningham, AL, Driscoll, GL, Tyler, JP P, Barr, JA, Gold, J Lamont, BJ (1985) Transmission of human T-cell lymphotropic virus type III (HTLV-III) by artificial insemination by donor. Lancet  ii:581-585.

(3)   Barre-Sinoussi F, Chermann JC, Rey F, Nugeyre MT, Chamaret S, Gruest J, Dauguet C, Axler-Blin C, Vezinet-Brun F, Rouzioun C, Rozenbaum W, Montagnier L  (1983) Isolation of a T-Lymphotrophic Retrovirus from a patient at Risk for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Science 220:868-871.

(4)   Schupbach J, Popovic M, Gilden RV, Gonda, M. A., Sarngadharan, M. G., Gallo, R. C. (1984)  Serological analysis of a Subgroup of Human T-Lymphotrophic Retroviruses (HTLV-III) Associated with AIDS. Science 224:503-505.

(5)   Sarngadharan M, G., Popovic M, Bruch L. (1984)  Antibodies Reactive to Human T-Lymphotrophic Retroviruses (HTLV-III) in the Serum of Patients with AIDS. Science 224:506-508.

(6)   Bess JW Jr, Gorelick RJ, Bosche WJ, Henderson LE, Arthur LO. (1997)  Microvesicles are a source of contaminating cellular proteins found in purified HIV-1 preparations. Virology  Mar 31;230(1):134-44.

(7)   Gluschankof P, Mondor I, Gelderblom HR, Sattentau QJ. (1997)  Cell Membrane Vesicles Are a Major Contaminant of Gradient-Enriched Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type-1 Preparations. Virology  230: 125-133

(8)   Streckert HJ, Werchau H. (1992)  Epitopes at the proteolytic cleavage sites of HIV-1-gp120 and RSV-F protein share a sequence homology: comparative studies with virus-induced and antipeptide antibodies.   Intervirology 34(1):30-7. PMID: 1385356

(9)   Tahi D. (1998)  Did Luc Montagnier discover HIV? Text of video interview with Professor Luc Montagnier at the Pasteur Institute July 18th 1997. Continuum 5:30-34

(10)          Mhlongo S, Turner VF, Papadimitriou JM, Alfonso H, Page BAP, Causer D, Fiala C, Papadopulos-Eleopulos E.  2003, How to resolve Aids dispute once and for all. The Sunday Independent June 15, p7.

 

 

Competing interests:   None declared