Reply to Flegg regarding 'retroviruses' 23 February 2005
Previous Rapid Response Next Rapid Response Top
Alexander H Russell,
Writer/artist/philosopher
WC1N 1PE

Send response to journal:
Re: Reply to Flegg regarding 'retroviruses'

Flegg stated:

"Alexander Russell writes: What isolated evidence does Nicholas Bennett have that 'retroviruses' really exist?

and

Sadly if Bennett had some form, any form, of education in the field he would know better and realise that 'retroviruses' do not exist. The Friend murine leukemia virus is a retrovirus or should I write a 'retrovirus'.

Make up your mind! Did de Harven record electron micrographs of Friend leukemia complex or not?"

Yes: whatever kind of particles they were, de Harven recovered them form mice but they were wrongly nominated as 'retroviruses'. I advise Flegg that should write 'retrovirus' in single inverted comas as this nomenclature is a misclassification.

Why were alleged 'animal retroviruses' only found in specific groups of deliberately bred laboratory animals? Why did alleged 'retroviruses' only start causing human disease once the intensive study of 'retroviruses' begun. Doesn’t it strike anyone how fortuitous it was that just as we began to study 'human retroviruses' so carefully we should discover two new disease – both as 'novel' as the 'retrvoriuses' alleged to cause them? For one to have been found would have been amazing – but two? I don't buy it. Or could it be that they had to invent two new diseases – 'Adult T-cell Leukaemai' and 'AIDS' in order to justify wasting tax payers money on a hitherto fruitless scientific endeavour: 'retrovirology'?

I suggest that the 'scientific community' stop using the nomenclature 'retrovirus' and the acronym 'HIV' as they are misclassified objects of taxonomy.

Neither of the two alleged 'human retroviruses' encodes an oncogene. Again I must refer Flegg to Peter Duesberg's paper of Cancer Research, March 1st, 1987: he points most emphatically that 'HTLV-1' originally alleged to cause 'Adult T-cell Leukaemia' (a disease unknown to medicine before the mid 1970’s) cannot possibly be the cause of cancer for three main reasons:

1) There is no evidence that cancer is transmissible – infectious disease

2) The 'HTLV-1' is alleged to infect cells, randomly inserting its genome so that no two cells are infected in the same place. This should predict that if 'HTLV-1' were to cause cancer the resulting cancers would be polyclonal. However, all naturally occurring cancers are monoclonal.

3) 'HTLV-1' is profoundly conventional 'retrovirus' which does not encode an oncogene.

It is worth remembering that Peter Duesberg and his colleague Peter Vogt were the discoverers of oncongenes and therefore should know what they are talking about.

Competing interests: None declared