Re: Does Dr. Peter Flegg still defend the (ab)use of HAART drug regimes and 'HIV' testing? 3 January 2005
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Nicholas Bennett,
Infectious Disease Postdoc/Clinician
Department of Pediatrics, University Hospital, Syracuse NY

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Re: Re: Does Dr. Peter Flegg still defend the (ab)use of HAART drug regimes and 'HIV' testing?

May I suggest that Mr Russell isn't telling the whole story.

Kit 1 was established as the first HIV test, as such it became the standard. De Harven may as well have stated "there is no known standard for isolating murine retroviruses" when he wrote his papers.

Kit 2 is a supplementary confirmation kit, as such the wording "do not use this kit as the sole basis..." makes perfect sense!

Kit 3 is a monitoring kit, as such it will be specifically prohibited from use as a diagnostic or screening tool.

There are 33 other HIV test kits out there, at least there are in the US. As an example the COBAS ampliscreen package insert states:

"This test is not intended for use as an aid in diagnosis."

But also states:

"The COBAS AmpliScreen HIV-1 Test, v1.5 is intended to be used for detection of HIV-1 RNA in conjunction with licensed tests for detecting antibodies to HIV-1. This product is intended for use as a donor screening test to detect HIV-1 RNA in plasma samples from individual human donors, including donors of Whole Blood and blood components, Source Plasma and other living donors. It is also intended for use to screen organ donors when specimens are obtained while the donor's heart is still beating."

I would argue that far from "every person on the planet being HIV- infected", Mr Russell is merely being misleading.

I shall end by quoting from a oft-referenced paper used to suggest that malaria causes false-postive HIV tests. The reader can decide if this result means that malaria causes false-positive HIV tests.

"Tests with control sera obtained from HTLV-III seropositive homosexual men and American subjects repeatedly infected with malaria who had high antibody titres against P falciparum indicated that there was no cross-reactivity between P falciparum and these retroviruses." [1]

The real reason of course why HIV positivity is high in regions with malaria, is the high rate of (previously) unscreened blood transfusions performed for malaria-induced anaemia, as mentioned in the article. Mr Russell should cease from stating otherwise.

Nick Bennett njb35@cantab.net

1. Biggar R, Melbye M, Sarin P, et al. 1985. ELISA HTLV retrovirus antibody reactivity associated with malaria and immune complexes in healthy Africans. Lancet. ii:520-543

Competing interests: None declared