Re: Did Montagnier discover HIV in 1983? 24 June 2004
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Brian T Foley,
HIV Researcher
Los Alamos National Lab, Los Alamos, NM 87545

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Re: Re: Did Montagnier discover HIV in 1983?

The Perth group wrote:
“…
Our questions (Q1 and Q2) to Christopher Noble were clearly linked together and referred to Montagnier’s 1983 paper. Brian Foley’s response is a good example of how in this debate he sidesteps the relevant questions, calls us liars, muddys the waters and gives a totally unrelated response. According to Robin Weiss, “The origin of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), the retrovirus that is the main cause of AIDS, has been a puzzle ever since it was discovered by Barre-Sinoussi and her colleagues in 1983” (1). In a recent paper Luc Montagnier and Robert Gallo stated that “ a clear-cut isolate” was obtained by Luc Montagnier and his colleagues in early 1983. They also agreed that in his May 1984 Science papers Gallo showed that the virus Montagnier discovered was the cause of AIDS (2). In Montagnier’s 1983 paper and in Gallo’s May 1984 papers no mention is made of an “HIV” genome, “molecular clone of HIV-1”, or that they “cloned the proviral DNA from infected cells to create the Lambda-J19 and Lambda-J81 clones” or any other clone.
…”

That is all correct. The origins of the HIV-1 M, N and O groups of lentiviruses in humans are still not fully understood, although a great deal of progress has been made since 1999. A clear-cut isolate of HIV-1 M group subtype B was indeed discovered by Barre-Sinoussi and her colleagues in 1983, and was re-confirmed by the production of an infectious molecular clone of that isolate. The Lambda-J19 and Lambda-J81 clones were not mentioned in the 1983 paper, because time travel has not yet been invented. The clones were produced and characterized a bit after the 1983 publication.

The Perth group wrote:
“…
In his role as "HIV geneticist" at the Los Alamos “HIV” database, does Brian Foley ever wonder how all the nucleic acid sequences he fastidiously catalogues and studies were actually obtained?
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I don’t need to “wonder”. I can understand the techniques used.

The Perth group wrote:
“…
Summarising, even people who need to be “spoon-fed” can see that RT activity in no way can be used even as supporting evidence to claim the detection of a retrovirus. Much less for the isolation and “passing” of a retrovirus.
…”

So, are you claiming that there is no such thing as a retrovirus? What is your point?

The Perth group wrote:
“…
In point 6 the “HIV” is compared with HTLV-I. To do such comparison first one needs to have proof for the existence of “HIV” and the “HIV” p25 (p24) protein. In other words, point 6 cannot be used as evidence for the existence of “HIV”.
…”

Wrong. Point 6 was only that antibodies from HIV-infected patients do not cross react (except for minor cross-reactivity to gag proteins) with HTLV-I proteins.

The Perth group wrote:
“…
In summary, the evidence which Montagnier presented for the existence of “HIV” was RT activity and retrovirus-like particles, phenomena which can be found in non-“HIV” infected cultures especially under the conditions used by Montagnier et al.
…”

Wrong again. Montagnier specifically stated that no RT activity was found in his uninfected cultures. He also did not see any retrovirus particles in his non-infected cell cultures.

The Perth group wrote:
“…
Brian Foley states there “have been several thousand other papers…which reconfirm the evidence…”. How does Brian Foley know this as a fact? Has he read and analysed them all?
…”

No. But I have read a great many of them. I also know enough about viruses and epidemics to see that HIV-1 and HIV-2 are just two of dozens of examples of viruses that have crossed species and spread in the new species. HIV-1 apparently came from chimpanzees to humans, and HIV-2 definitely came from Sooty mangabeys. I also know enough about HIV, AIDS and epidemiology to know that “oxidative stress” can’t possibly explain the pandemic.

More to the point, has the Perth group ever considered that these sequences could not have all been invented out of thin air, or oxidative stress? Do they even understand the difference between an endogenous retrovirus and an exogenous retrovirus? Do they understand that the molecular epidemiology of HIV matches up exactly with serology and many other aspects of AIDS epidemiology?

The Perth group wrote:
“…
When we have previously asked for such references Brian Foley responded with a list which contained no such evidence. If Brian Foley has indeed read and analysed these references we would be grateful if he would provide the evidence which led him to conclude that “HIV” exists.
…”

As I have repeatedly stated before. I will provide such details as soon as the Perth group can name one virus that they feel has been studied to their satisfaction.

The Perth group wrote:
“…
Does the evidence in the Montagnier 1983 study convince Brian Foley and Christopher Noble that “HIV” was discovered.
…”

The evidence presented by any single paper by any one group would never be enough to convince me of anything. It is largely the fact that the results of Montagneir’s group has been reconfirmed by hundreds of other labs all over the world, that convinces me that HIV-1 M group viruses are the cause of the AIDS pandemic, with the HIV-1 N and O groups and HIV-2 causing a very small percentage of AIDS cases.

As I have stated before, virology alone is not sufficient to suggest that HIV-1 or any other virus is the cause of any disease. Epidemiology, and many other areas of research all come together to show that HIV-1 M group viruses are the cause of the major AIDS pandemic. The Perth group has no data which calls into question the link between HIV and AIDS, they only have clever rhetoric that turns out to be empty (for example they claim that 2 papers published in 1973 in Spectra laid down rules for virus isolation, when in fact they did not) upon inspection.

The Perth group wrote:
“…
We are referring to another paper. We are astounded that Brian Foley is not aware of this paper because we have repeatedly referred to it in this debate. This paper is by Toplin (8) and was published in the same issue of Spectra as the Barre-Sinoussi paper. At present it can be accessed on our web site ( http://www.theperthgroup.com/OTHER/Toplin.pdf).
…”

That paper also says NOTHING about any rules for virus isolation. The paper talks about separating the viral particles of certain types of RNA tumor viruses from the majority of cellular debris. It states that many other viruses such as herpesviruses are not so easily separated by this technique. It does not state that measuring RT activity is useless for retroviruses. It shows no serological or DNA sequence evidence that the viruses the authors were working with were single viruses rather than mixtures. In fact, the paper used the Schmidt-Rupin D strain of Rous Sarcoma Virus (labeled RSV(SR-D) in figure 3) which is replication-defective and cannot replicate without a helper virus. The Rauscher Murine Leukemia virus is not defective, and could have been pure.

No virus has ever been isolated and characterized by the exact methods or techniques that the Perth group is claiming to be required for proof of the existence of HIV.

Competing interests: None declared