Hon Research Associate, History of Medicine
Staffordshire University, UK
Send response to journal:
In a recent rapid response,  Alex Russell states:
"I thought it was blatantly obvious that not all 'viruses' are an 'epiphenomena,' 'disease markers' and 'endogenous entities'. I was writing specifically about 'HIV' and 'retroviruses' which are these 'epiphenomena', 'disease markers' and 'endogenous entities' - and which were wrongly classified as 'viruses'..." 
Why does he think it is obvious or blatantly obvious that all other viruses are not also 'epiphenomena,' 'disease markers' or 'endogenous entities?' Just as he states about retroviruses, these entities are *assumed* to be pathogenic, they are assumed to be causes of disease states, NOT the products of disease states. How is the causation of their pathogenicity so solidly proven? How is it proven that they are not also products or mere 'associative factors' rather than causes of disease processes?
Why cannot what Alex Russell says about retroviruses also apply to many other or indeed all viruses? Why are all viruses not 'endogenous epiphenomena' or 'disease markers' and therefore merely associative factors and *products* rather than causes of disease processes? What is the big objection, seeing that he agrees with my previous contention that deranged cells perhaps produce viruses?
For example, in my previous post I asked: "what proposed lifestyle factors, immune system degradations or deeper organism derangements, for example, might then be adduced as the suspected or proven causes that induce 'normal cells' to then embark upon this deranged pattern of prolific virus manufacture?"  And then Alex Russell responds with the following example, he states that "recreational drugs cause immune damage and premature death," 
Likewise, when he says, "in all these cases all the young homosexuals were heavy recreational drug users, particularly 'poppers' (amyl nitrites) and the correlation between KS and popper-use is 100%."  These are examples of lifestyle factors degrading the immune system and causing a disease process, exactly as I requested.
My question then becomes that in clearly describing a lifestyle- induced *syndrome* rather than an infection, cannot the very same as he claims applies to so-called retroviruses also apply to many other or even all viruses?
Could not other lifestyle factors conceivably also cause underlying syndromes to arise that in turn somehow generate viruses as by-products masquerading as causes? What specific objection does Alex Russell have to this view?
 Alexander H Russell, Russell to Morrell: regarding 'epiphenomena' and Duesberg's drug/AIDS hypothesis, 21 February 2005
 Peter Morrell, Re: Reply to Morrell: Regarding 'endogenous entities' and 'epiphenomena,' 20 February 2005
Competing interests: None declared