Re: Re: Two questions to Brian Foley 4 May 2004
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Julian Turningheart,
Gainesville, FL 32608

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Re: Re: Re: Two questions to Brian Foley

Dear Editor,

Brian T. Foley states (Re: Two questions to Brian Foley, 29 April 2004), “Infectious molecular clones of lentiviruses do indeed meet all the requirements needed to prove that they are indeed clones of lentiviruses. When they are transfected into permissive cells they produce infectious viral PARTICLES (emphasis added)”. Now would be an auspicious time for Dr. Foley to either provide some references that contain electron micrographs of “isolated” HIV particles in which any (even one) of the particles has all of the ultrastructural characteristics of lentiviruses, or explain an alternative method that has been used to resolve the presence of viral particles in “isolates” of HIV. In the absence of such evidence, it seems premature to speak of infectious HIV PARTICLES as if their existence has been proved.

Additionally, Dr. Foley states that, “Those particles are composed of many proteins that bind to antibodies from people or animals that were infected with identical or similar viruses but not to antibodies from hosts that were infected with more distantly related viruses”. Since Dr. Foley believes that HIV proteins induce such a specific antibody response, I would be interested to know his opinion of why more than one band on an HIV Western is required to register a positive test (Perth Group, 20 June, 2003). Similarly, I would like his explanation of why AIDS patient serum yields qualitatively indistinguishable HIV Western patterns when reacted with proteins obtained from HIV- and mock-infected cells (Bess, et al. (1997). Virology 230:134-144).

Finally, Dr. Foley criticizes the Perth Group for trying to have it both ways with regard to the work of Barre-Sinoussi and Chermann on retrovirus isolation methodology. Apparently the Perth Group is not allowed to cite these investigators favorably vis-ŕ-vis the “Pasteur Rules”, and unfavorably with respect to their subsequent work on HIV isolation. But how is this any different from Dr. Foley citing the “…respected leader in HIV denialism…”, Peter Duesberg, favorably for agreeing that “…many HIVs and SIVs have been properly isolated”? According to the standard Dr. Foley sets for the Perth Group, Duesberg is either a “denialist” –in which case his views on HIV are logically bankrupt- or he’s a National Academy of Science member who knows a SHIV- load more about HIV than the self-described “peon”, Brian T. Foley. I wouldn’t expect the authors of the more venomous, spittle-flecked diatribes in this debate thread (i.e. Tony Floyd) to be capable of the nuanced ratiocination required to understand that good scientists can be correct in one instance and incorrect in another, but such ability should be clearly within the intellectual compass of Dr. Foley.

Competing interests: None declared