A further plea for references on HIV purification 9 July 2003
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Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos,
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: A further plea for references on HIV purification

A further plea for references on HIV purification

In our rapid response “A plea for the references on HIV purification” (3 July 2003), we asked “Could Brian Foley or anyone else please give us a few of the “thousands” of references where HIV-1 has been separated “from the vast majority of other material”, in other words, purified? In the same rapid response we wrote: “…we implore with him to provide a few references that prove: (i) that the molecules used in “cloning of a complete viral [HIV] genome” originated from HIV particles; (ii) cloning of HIV; (iii) that the HIV “Genetic Sequences” in his databases originated from HIV particles.” “We would be grateful to Brian Foley if he can provide us with references showing HIV-1 preparations in which “No apparent differences in physical appearance could be discerned among the viral particles in these regions” as Sinoussi et al. did and with “a high degree of homogeneity” and “virtual absence of DNA” as Crawford et al did.”

In his rapid response “Re: A plea for the references on HIV purification”, Brian Foley gave a long list of references. With one exception, all the references refer either to “HIV molecular cloning” or animal retrovirus molecular cloning. We have already repeatedly given reasons why molecular cloning is not proof for purification. In fact, molecular cloning of a viral genome cannot be achieved unless the virus is first purified.

The exception that Brian Foley gave is the 1984 paper by Gallo and his associates (1). In that paper, the only statement regarding purification is the following: “The yield of virus from H4/HTLV-III cells was assessed by purification of concentrated culture fluids through a sucrose density gradient and assays of particulate RT activity in each fraction collected from the gradient. As shown in Fig. 2b, the highest RT activity was found at a density of 1.16g/ml, which is similar to other retroviruses. The highest RT activity was found in the fractions with the largest amount of virus, as determined by electron microscopy”. However: (i) Gallo did not published electron micrographs to prove HIV purification; (ii) According to Montagnier: “Gallo?..I don’t know if he really purified. I don’t believe so. I believe he launched very quickly into the molecular part, that’s to say cloning”. (2)

At present nobody including Brian Foley has come forward with proof of HIV purification. In the case of Montagnier’s “purified HIV” there were not even particles present with the morphology of retroviruses. This means that to claim “HIV molecular cloning” is no different than to go into a veterinary surgery, take an unlabelled bottle of blood, clone the cellular DNA and claim molecular cloning of Dolly the sheep.

As Montagnier has stated, characterisation of viral proteins and the viral genome “demands mass production and purification. It is necessary to do that.” (2) Unless Brian Foley finds proof for HIV purification then he like us will have to conclude that at present there is no proof for the existence of HIV proteins, the HIV genome and thus HIV.


(1) Popovic M, Sarngadharan MG, Read E, Gallo RC. Detection, Isolation, and continuos production of cytopathic retroviruses (HTLV-III) from patients with AIDS and pre-AIDS. Science. 1984 May 4; 224(4648):497-500.

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

Competing interests:   None declared