Brian T Foley,
Los Alamos National Lab, Los Alamos, NM 87545
Send response to journal:
The Perth group wrote:
“We are glad that in his rapid response “ Re: Re: Re: Two questions to Brian Foley”, 4th May 2004, Brian Foley finally agrees with us that the “HIV” RNA is a poly(A)-RNA. Is it true that the “HIV” poly(A)-RNA, that is, the “HIV” genome, originated from the 1.16gm/ml band? Yes or No? “
Yes, HIV genomes are found in the 1.16 g/ml band. But most infectious molecular clones of HIV-1, HIV-2, SIV, other lentiviral and other retroviral genomes are not harvested directly from the 1.16 g/ml band. Instead, they are produced from integrated proviral genomes  or extrachromosomal circular dsDNA pre-integration genomes isolated using the method of Hirt [2,3].
The Perth group wrote:
“Brian Foley wrote: “An infectious molecular clone of HIV, is a complete nondefective genome…Infectious molecular clones of HIVs must be proven to produce infectious virions”.
two distinctly different notions of an “infectious molecular clone”.
Would Brian Foley please tell us which, if any, is correct?
I do not understand why the Perth group thinks these notions are incompatible with each other. Do they believe that a partial or defective genome should be able to produce infectious virions? Almost every infectious molecular clone of HIV that I am aware of has been used in dozens of studies, they are sequenced [4,5], probed or used as probes in Southern and Northern blots [1,2], proven to produce infectious virions , modified with site-directed mutagenesis to determine exactly which bases or codons encode each function of the virus [7,8], used to prepare proteins that are then shown to react with antibodies from AIDS patients and some sex partners of AIDS patients but not heathly blood donors [9,10], etc…
I would not accept any one of these properties alone as “proof” of the isolation of HIV-1 and its role as the causative agent of the AIDS pandemic. Each use of the clones just adds one more bit of information to the overall picture, until at some point it becomes clear that there is no other logical explanation. As I have previously stated, the clones alone may be able to prove that HIV is the cause of AIDS, but much other work with conventional epidemiology such as contact tracing was critical in determining, before HIV-1 was ever isolated, that AIDS was an infectious syndrome and not an environmental problem or “lifestyle” disease as Peter Duesberg, Mohammed Al-Bayati, the Perth group and others insist. Molecular clones of HIVs and SIVs have been used to re-confirm those earlier findings in numerous ways.
1: Alizon M, Sonigo P, Barre-Sinoussi F, Chermann JC, Tiollais P,
2: Hahn BH, Shaw GM, Arya SK, Popovic M, Gallo RC, Wong-Staal F.
3: Hirt B.
4: Ratner L, Haseltine W, Patarca R, Livak KJ, Starcich B, Josephs SF,
5: Wain-Hobson S, Sonigo P, Danos O, Cole S, Alizon M.
6: Fisher AG, Collalti E, Ratner L, Gallo RC, Wong-Staal F.
7: Powell MD, Ghosh M, Jacques PS, Howard KJ, Le Grice SF, Levin JG.
8: Ghosh M, Williams J, Powell MD, Levin JG, Le Grice SF.
9: Sarngadharan MG, Popovic M, Bruch L, Schupbach J, Gallo RC.
10: Klatzmann D, Cavaille-Coll M, Brunet JB, Rozenbaum W,
Competing interests: None declared