Re: Re: Re: Two questions to Brian Foley 6 May 2004
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Brian T Foley,
HIV Researcher
Los Alamos National Lab, Los Alamos, NM 87545

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Re: Re: Re: Re: Two questions to Brian Foley

Julian Turningheart wrote:
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

References [1-6] below are a rather random sampling of some of the hundreds of peer-reviewed publications which contain electron micrographs of HIV-1 and/or other lentiviruses.

Julian Turningheart wrote:
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

Almost all HIV-infected people produce strong antibody responses to more than 4 of the mature HIV proteins [7-9]. For this reason, it does not make sense to presume that a person is HIV-infected if they produce a strong antibody response to only one HIV protein. Most individuals with an antibody response to a single HIV protein are not HIV-infected, they are infected with some other virus, such as HTLV-I which has some similarity to the lentiviruses, especially in the Gag and Pol protein sequences. Also, infection with tuberculosis and some other pathogens not related to lentiviruses can sometimes cause an aberrant response to one or two HIV proteins [10-12].

Julian Turningheart wrote:
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-à-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.

It is certainly allowed for the Perth group or anyone else to cite one group favorably on one paper or topic and disfavorably on another. There are in fact no such thing as “the Pasteur Rules”. It may be true that Barre-Sinoussi and Chermann once presented a talk of poster or something in which they stated that they thought sucrose density gradient ultracentrifugation was the very best method available at that time for enriching or “purifying” retroviral proteins, but that talk or poster or whatever did not become the “official law” of retrovirology which would have to be followed for all time forward even if better methods became available. Molecular biology, virology and microbiology absoluelty boomed in the 1980s and 1990s, with new techniques and methods being developed almost every day. By the time Barre-Sinoussi and Chermann were working with HIV-1 M group subtype B viruses in the early 1980s, cloning and sequencing retroviruses was becoming routine. In the early 1970s these techniques were not at all easy to carry out with retroviruses.

The Perth group is not citing a peer-reviewed paper by Barre-Sinoussi and Chermann and showing us exactly why this paper proves that no technique other than producing 100% pure virus particles can ever be acceptable for retroviral isolation. Instead they are just claiming that Barre-Sinoussi and Chermann wrote the “law” on retrovirology, without offering up any solid supporting evidence or explanation of how this technique became “law”. It would be one thing if the Perth group could present some evidence that even one virus had ever met the requirements of this “law”, but they so far have not.

I am not offering Peter Duesberg’s opinion that HIV-1, HIV-2 and dozens of SIVs have been properly isolated, as my only proof of the isolation of HIV. I am merely pointing out that virtually all virologists, including the dissident virologist, understand that the methods used to “isolate” and study HIV and other lentiviruses are the very same methods used with all other retroviruses. I have no way of knowing whether or not Peter Duesberg knows more about HIV-1 than I do. It would certainly not surprise me if he does. I probably know more about the molecular epidemiology of AIDS than he does, but I am sure he has far more experience culturing retroviruses and working with their proteins than I do. I never said or implied that any one person or group of people had to either be geniuses or idiots; all people can be right on some topics and wrong on others. I was merely pointing out that we seem to have two conflicting reports from the very same people (Barre-Sinoussi and Chermann), so perhaps one of these two reports is wrong. It is my suspicion that neither report is truly “wrong”, it is just that the Perth group has misinterpreted an early report by Barre-Sinoussi and Chermann as being some sort of “law” cast in stone, when in fact it never was a “law” and was never stated to the the end of all laws on retrovirology that could never be modified or updated.


1: Briggs JA, Wilk T, Welker R, Krausslich HG, Fuller SD. Related
Structural organization of authentic, mature HIV-1 virions and cores.
EMBO J. 2003 Apr 1;22(7):1707-15.
PMID: 12660176

2: Welker R, Hohenberg H, Tessmer U, Huckhagel C, Krausslich HG.
Biochemical and structural analysis of isolated mature cores of human
immunodeficiency virus type 1.
J Virol. 2000 Feb;74(3):1168-77.
PMID: 10627527

3: Nermut MV, Zhang WH, Francis G, Ciampor F, Morikawa Y, Jones IM.
Time course of Gag protein assembly in HIV-1-infected cells: a study by
immunoelectron microscopy.
Virology. 2003 Jan 5;305(1):219-27.
PMID: 12504555

4: Forshey BM, Aiken C.
Disassembly of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 cores in vitro
reveals association of Nef with the subviral ribonucleoprotein complex.
J Virol. 2003 Apr;77(7):4409-14.
PMID: 12634398

5: Tang S, Murakami T, Cheng N, Steven AC, Freed EO, Levin JG.
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 N-terminal capsid mutants
containing cores with abnormally high levels of capsid protein and
virtually no reverse transcriptase.
J Virol. 2003 Dec;77(23):12592-602.
PMID: 14610182

6: Shehu-Xhilaga M, Hill M, Marshall JA, Kappes J, Crowe SM, Mak J.
The conformation of the mature dimeric human immunodeficiency virus
type 1 RNA genome requires packaging of pol protein.
J Virol. 2002 May;76(9):4331-40.
PMID: 1193239

7: Garland FC, Garland CF, Gorham ED, Brodine SK, Weiss PJ.
Specific western blot bands are associated with initial CD4+ lymphocyte
counts in human immunodeficiency virus seroconverters.
Ann Epidemiol. 1994 Jan;4(1):27-31.
PMID: 7911377

8: Geffin RB, Lai SH, Hutto C, Scott GB, Scott WA, Master M, Parks WP
Quantitative analysis of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 antibody
reactivity by western immunoblots: evaluation of relative antibody levels
in seropositive individuals and mothers.
J Infect Dis. 1992 Jan;165(1):111-8.
PMID: 1727880

9: Sun D, Archibald DW, Furth PA.
Variation of secretory antibodies in parotid saliva to human
immunodeficiency virus type 1 with HIV-1 disease stage.
AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 1990 Jul;6(7):933-41.
PMID: 2117957

10: Chattopadhya D, Aggarwal RK, Baveja UK, Doda V, Kumari S.
Evaluation of epidemiological and serological predictors of human
immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) infection among high risk
professional blood donors with western blot indeterminate results. J Clin Virol. 1998 Jul 24;11(1):39-49.
PMID: 9784142

11: Sayre KR, Dodd RY, Tegtmeier G, Layug L, Alexander SS, Busch MP.
False-positive human immunodeficiency virus type 1 western blot tests
in noninfected blood donors.
Transfusion. 1996 Jan;36(1):45-52.
PMID: 8607152

12: Sterne JA, Turner AC, Fine PE, Parry JV, Lucas SB, Ponnighaus JM,
Mkandwire PK, Nyasulu S, Warndorff DK.
Testing for antibody to human immunodeficiency virus type 1 in a
population in which mycobacterial diseases are endemic.
J Infect Dis. 1995 Aug;172(2):543-6.
PMID: 7622901

Competing interests: None declared