One simple question for the Perth Group. 3 June 2004
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Christopher J Noble,
postdoc
Australia

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Re: One simple question for the Perth Group.

The basic argument of the Perth Group reduces down to following.

1) There exists a set of rules for the isolation of retroviruses.

2) These rules or laws were discussed and set down on paper by researchers at the Pasteur Institute in 1973.

3) These are the normal traditional rules that have been used to isolate other retroviruses.

4) HIV has not been isolated according to these rules.

Conclusion) There is no evidence that HIV exists.

Of the four premises only the last is true. This is because the rules are mythical.

A single set of rules for the isolation of viruses does not exist. Like all other fields of science researchers produce a number of independent types of evidence for their claims.

Researchers at the Pasteur Institute did not formulate a set of rules that must be followed to demonstrate the existence of a retrovirus.

The exact set of rules that the Perth Group describe have not been followed out on any retroviruses.

The Perth Group have been repeatedly asked for evidence for the existence of these rules. So far they have only produced two papers that do not support the Perth Group assertions. (1-2).

The exact rules that the Perth Group describe are not followed in these papers. The rules that the Perth Group describe are their invention and it is blatantly deceptive to attempt to ascribe them to scientists at the Pasteur Institute. This is a weak attempt at argument from authority. In this case the very authorities that the Perth Group are appealling to do not agree with them.

At no stage do the authors of these papers state or imply that they are describing a set of rules for the isolation of retroviruses. Nobody, certainly not the authors, are under the impression that these papers describe a set of rules that must be followed to prove the existence of a retrovirus. These papers are apparently only cited by the Perth Group. A search of the Science Citation Index produces no other citations. This is not what you would expect if these papers were really describing the one and only set of "rules for the isolation of retroviruses".

Neither paper claims that the purified viral preparations produced in these studies were 100% pure. This part is a Perth Group invention. In the Sinoussi et al paper they state that "these fractions consisted of MAINLY typical spherical C-type particles" (emphasis mine). They also state "No apparent differences in physical appearances could be discovered among the VIRAL particles in these regions." (again emphasis mine) It does not state that these fractions consisted of 100% viral particles just that all the viral particles appeared identical despite the fact that their viral preparations contained a mixture of 2-3 different viruses.

In fact, the paper by Toplin makes it abundantly clear that purification in sucrose density gradients can never produce 100% pure viral preparations.

"The RNA tumor viruses also have buoyant densities that coincide with those of certain cellular constituents"

Purification in sucrose density gradients can never separate viral particles from cellular debris that have the same density. All preparations obtained in this way will contain some proportion of contaminating material.

It is easier to obtain highly concentrated preparations of some viruses and some EMs of these preparations are shown, however, it is never stated or implied that it is necessary to obtain 100% pure preparations of viruses to prove their existence.

I am asking the the Perth Group to produce evidence that supports their claim that the "set of rules for the isolation of retroviruses" that they have espoused exist in any form outside of their imagination. The papers they have provided so far do not support their claims. It would help if they could provide references which actually state in plain words everything that the Perth Group claim. The Perth Group interpretation of papers is not to be relied on. I think it is obvious that if Sinoussi or Toplin had have intended to describe the "set of rules for the isolation of retroviruses" they would have actually stated this in the text rather than rely on the imaginative and creative interpretation of the Perth Group to inform the world.

I am not overly optimistic in getting an honest reply to this request. Last time I requested supporting evidence for the Perth Group claim that "the genomes of the most variable RNA viruses do not differ by more than 1%". To this point they have not produced a single paper that supports this claim and have done their best to avoid directly dealing with this question.

1: Sinoussi F, Mendiola L, Chermann JC, Jasmin C, Raynaud M. Purification and Partial Differentiation of the Particles of Murine Sarcoma Virus (M. MSV) According to their Sedimentation Rates in Sucrose Density Gradients. Spectra 4:237-243 (1973)

2: Toplin I. Tumor Virus Purification using Zonal Rotors. Spectra 4:225-235 (1973)

Competing interests: None declared