Can Bennett at last now isolate 'HIV' via de Harven's methodology? 16 February 2005
Previous Rapid Response Next Rapid Response Top
Alexander H Russell,

Send response to journal:
Re: Can Bennett at last now isolate 'HIV' via de Harven's methodology?

Regarding my quest for Bennett to isolate 'HIV' he obfuscated yet again:

"Additionally, one wonders if Mr Russell is aware that the De Harven methodology, as I questioned previously is not actually capable of isolating pure virus? Perhaps some other form of isolation should be performed, like genetic cloning?"

Regarding "genetic cloning": I ask Bennett what is the use of cloning something unless you are absolutely sure of what it is you are cloning? It is imperative that isolation and purification has to precede genetic cloning. Contrary to Bennett’s claim, Etienne de Harven's methodology is far more rigorous at isolation/purification of virus than other methods and all other indirect surrogate markers which are non-specific. I would ask Bennett to take a look at the elctronmicrogrgraph published in the paper by Etienne de Harven (1) and he will notice that de Harven uses three arrows to indicate impurities. Now look at the elctronmicrograph by Gelderblom et al (2) where three arrows arbitrarily point to questionable particles identified as ‘HIV’. In all honesty Bennett, which of these two electronmicrographs represents the more purified virus? The putative 'HIV' is in fact a collection of endogenous microvesicles and cellular proteins (which also never seem to form particles - so how can they be infectious)? The very title of their paper gives the game away: Cell membrane vesicles are a major contaminant of gradient-enriched human immunodeficiency virus type-1 preparations; Gluschankof P, Mondor I, Gelderblom HR, Sattentau QJ. (Virology, 230:125- 133, 1997).

Hence Gelderblom's images are mistakenly labelled as 'purified HIV' but are in fact a compost heap of microvesicles and cellular debris. Three arrows point to barely discernible dots alleged to be 'HIV'. Gelderblom’s image shows three ambiguous particles in a swamp of microvesicles and cellular debris– hardly isolated 'virus'! So how does Bennett explain all the other gunge in the image? Isolation means – need I remind Mr. Bennett – separation from everything else. As The Perth Group have rigorously argued: the isolation of ‘HIV’ has never been achieved. Therefore we must stop using the acronym ‘HIV’. In another paper in the same issue of Virology by Bess et al., the authors admitted that all sorts of debris and extraneous matter banded at the same level as retroviruses in the sucrose medium, principally cellular microvescicles, something that Etienne de Harven had observed even in the 1960's. Material that bands at 1.16 does not represent purified retrovirus ('HIV'); therefore in examining the proteins that make up this soup, which belong to 'HIV' and which are merely cell debris etc? How can one derive a vaccine from all this stuff?

Bennett goes on:

"Culture and PCR on the other hand provide a standard scientific approach to amplifying what is already there to more manageable levels. Does Mr Russell have issue with using telescopes to amplify the sight of a distant star or planet? Why with PCR for HIV?"

If you have to amplify the putative 'HIV' in the first place by using PCR to show that it is there at all then there was obviously not enough 'virus' present to have any pathogenic relevance or even an infectious relevance.

Bennett concludes:

"However, as Hans Gelderblom has said, virus titres are likely to be too low unless a modified protocol is used, but since isolation has been achieved for cultured HIV perhaps the methods employed there might be transferable (rapid harvest, anion exchange chromatography, Optiprep centrifugation etc)."

If virus titres are too low then obviously ‘HIV’ is not an infectious agent and cannot be doing anything. Again I ask Bennett: if the alleged virus titres are that low how can they have any pathogenic or even infectious relevance? A virus that is not doing anything cannot be doing anything.

Or as Peter Duesberg and Harvey Bialy wrote in Nature:

"...infectious units, after all, are the only clinically relevant criteria for a viral pathogen."

Peter Duesberg and Harvey Bialy (Nature, 375, 1995, p. 197).


1) PROBLEMS WITH ISOLATING HIV, Etienne de Harven, MD. Brussels – European Parliament – December 08, 2003.

2) Cell membrane vesicles are a major contaminant of gradient- enriched human immunodeficiency virus type-1 preparations; Gluschankof P, Mondor I, Gelderblom HR, Sattentau QJ. (Virology, 230:125- 133, 1997).

PROBLEMS WITH ISOLATING HIV, Etienne de Harven, MD. Brussels – European Parliament – December 08, 2003:

"To demonstrate the problem’s magnitude it appears necessary to compare current results on HIV with those obtained, previously, in experimental pathology, on another retrovirus known to be significantly associated with a particular leukaemia of laboratory mice, the Friend leukaemia. Both retroviruses, i.e. the Friend leukaemia virus, and the HIV hypothetically related to AIDS, share extremely similar morphology under the electron microscope, have identical diameters, and sediment at the same density in sucrose gradients. A direct comparison between isolating and purifying these two different retroviruses is, therefore, entirely appropriate.

Mice suffering from the Friend leukaemia have considerable numbers of retroviral particles in their blood stream. This phenomenon, described as 'Viraemia' in the past, would be called 'Viral load', in today ’s terminology. From only a few ml of the blood plasma of leukaemic mice, the viral particles could be readily separated by a simple technique of ultrafiltration, then sedimented by high-speed centrifugation and finally prepared for electron microscopy.

On this electron microscope image, a uniform population of virus particles is clearly recognized. They all have the same diameter and morphology, and one has to look very carefully to identify rare, non-viral structures, attesting to the high degree of purification of these retroviral particles. Such samples of purified retrovirus were successfully used to identify viral proteins and to extract viral RNA. The method applied to achieve this purification of a typical retrovirus is rapid, inexpensive and highly reproducible.

Most surprisingly, nobody has ever succeeded in demonstrating HIV particles in the blood of any AIDS patient by this simple method, even though patients were selected for presenting a so-called high 'Viral load' as determined by PCR methods. This embarrassing lack of electron microscope evidence for substantiating the nature of the so-called viral load in AIDS patients was first reported during an important AIDS conference that took place in Pretoria, S.A., in May 2000. None of the AIDS experts present at that conference could demonstrate the presence of retroviral particles in the blood of AIDS patients."

Competing interests: None declared