HIV – a virus like no other

Written by The Perth Group

What is now known as the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) was first reported in 1981 as two diseases – a chronic pneumonia (PCP) caused by the fungal organism Pneumocystis carinii and Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS), a malignancy of uncertain histogenesis that principally involves the skin but may also occur in the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts. 1.2

Neither PCP nor KS were new diseases. What was new was the exponentially escalating incidence of what were two formerly rare diseases and their proclivity for a minor subset of young, sexually promiscuous, drug using homosexual men.3 Subsequently more diseases were added under the umbrella term “AIDS indicator diseases” which currently number 29, including PCP, KS, tuberculosis,4 candida (yeast) infections, lymphoma and cervical cancer.

Among the first to put forward a theory to account for the high frequency of KS and PCP in homosexual men were researchers belonging to what Luc Montagnier, from the Pasteur Institute in Paris, calls the “Retrovirology Club”.5 During the 1970s the Retrovirology Club tried to prove, albeit unsuccessfully, that cancer is caused by viruses.6
Since KS is a malignancy, retrovirologists, in particular Robert Gallo from the US National Institutes of Health, proposed a viral theory of AIDS.

The observations the viral theory was intended to explain were threefold: the high frequency of KS; a few opportunistic infections, principally PCP; and a decrease in a cell type, the T4 (CD4) lymphocyte, in the peripheral blood of the homosexual patients. Subsequently the theory was also claimed to explain opportunistic infections and T4 cell decrease in intravenous drug users and haemophiliacs.

It was accepted that no single infectious agent could directly cause the heterogeneous group of AIDS “indicator” diseases. Hence, it was proposed that viral-induced destruction of T4 cells (acquired immune deficiency), the “hallmark” of HIV infection, inevitably led to the appearance of KS and the opportunistic infections.7

The virus, now known as the human immunodeficiency virus, was said to be transmitted principally via sexual intercourse, blood and blood products.

The first report of an “AIDS virus” was in a May 20th 1983 paper published in Science by scientists at the Pasteur Institute led by Luc Montagnier. They claimed to have isolated a retrovirus, lymphadenopathy-associated virus (LAV), from a homosexual patient code name BRU who was at risk of AIDS and had a pre-AIDS prodrome.8

In May 1984 scientists at the National Institutes of Health in the USA led by Robert Gallo published four papers also in Science in which they claimed to have isolated a retrovirus, human T-cell lymphotropic virus-III (HTLV-III), from 26/72 patients with AIDS and concluded their data “suggest that HTLV-III [HIV] may be the primary cause of  AIDS”.9-12

In 1986 Gallo recounted his 1984 data as “The results presented in our four papers provided clearcut evidence that the aetiology of AIDS and ARC [AIDS-related complex, another prodrome] was the new lymphotropic retrovirus, HTLV-III”.13 The latest (2015) 19th edition of Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine asserts, “In 1983, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was isolated from a patient with lymphadenopathy, and by 1984 it was demonstrated clearly to be the causative agent of AIDS”.

In three papers published in 1984, 14-16 Gallo and his associates were the first to claim characterisation of the HIV genome and as a result were the first to introduce its use into clinical practice. By 1986 LAV and HTLV-III were accepted to be the same virus and Montagnier’s and Gallo’s viruses were renamed human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).17

As Joseph Sonnabend, an infectious disease specialist physician practising in New York City at the beginning of the AIDS era, summed up the zeitgeist, “Very early on in the epidemic, before HIV was discovered, there were two theories [for AIDS], one was that there was a new agent out there, and the other was the multifactorial [lifestyle] theory…so there is a competition between two theories and different interests latch on to different theories for different reasons…The conservative family values lobby liked the single virus because it says if you have sex outside marriage you could die. If you’re a gay man – die. The gay leadership liked it too so they were joining hands with their enemies in a sense, both favouring the single virus theory. It takes the view away from lifestyle and puts it on a single virus”.18

The scientific and medical communities readily opted for the retroviral theory and rapidly adopted the belief that the apparent spread of “HIV” represented a global health emergency, with “real, and potentially significant, risks to national, regional, and global security from the pandemic”; 19 and for over three decades have resisted every alternative view.

In 2008 Montagnier and Barré-Sinoussi were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “for their discovery of human immunodeficiency virus”.20 On 20th May 2016 the Pasteur Institute tweeted “33 years ago today Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier published in the journal Science the discovery of the retrovirus that causes AIDS”.21 However, according to Anders Vahlne, Professor in Clinical Virology, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, “In reality, in my view there is no evidence whatsoever in this [Montagnier’s 1983] paper that a new human retrovirus has been isolated!”22, 23

The question arises, does the evidence presented in Montagnier’s 1983 paper prove the existence of HIV? If not, did Montagnier prove its existence in a subsequent paper? Or have other scientists published such evidence

Viruses and proof for their existence

A virus is a microscopic, infectious particle. Infectious refers to the cycles of transmission and replication whose steps include release of viral particles from infected cells, their entry into uninfected cells (transmission), intracellular synthesis of particle proteins and nucleic acid, terminating in assembly and release of new viral particles. HIV is said to belong to the Family Retroviridae which have RNA genomes and according to the theory of retroviruses, an additional step in their replication cycle is the reverse transcription of their genome. In other words, the synthesis of a DNA copy of their RNA genome using an enzyme called reverse transcriptase.

After copying, viral DNA is integrated into the host cell DNA as the “provirus”. Virologists refer to the subsequent synthesis of new viral RNA and proteins, the assembly and release of particles, as “expression” of the proviral genome.

All virologists including retrovirologists and in particular those who gave the world the human immunodeficiency virus – Luc Montagnier, Francoise Barré-Sinoussi, Jean Claude Chermann and Robert Gallo – acknowledge that to prove the existence of a virus one must purify the virus particles.24, 25

Purification is required for several reasons, including the following:
1. Viruses replicate only in living cells. Since cells and viruses are composed of the same
biochemical constituents, separation of particles from cellular material is essential for
defining which nucleic acid and proteins belong to the virus particles.
2. To prove the particles are infectious. In other words, it is particles, not other factors,
that are responsible for the production of new particles. This requires purification of
both sets of particles.
3. To demonstrate their biological and pathological effects.
4. To obtain antigens (proteins) and nucleic acids for use in antibody and genomic tests
(including “viral load”26) respectively

On the basis of the presently available data in the scientific literature, one has no choice but to conclude that whatever “HIV” is, it is not “the virus that causes AIDS”, or even “a real virus”. Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos, Valendar F. Turner, John M Papadimitriou, Barry A. P. Page, David Causer

Posted online July 12th 2017. LINK

Explanatory note
On 21st February 2017 the Perth Group emailed this manuscript to Nature, The Lancet, the British Medical Journal, Science, Medical Hypotheses, the Journal of the American Medical Association and the New England Journal of Medicine.

The following covering note was addressed to each editor-in-chief.

My colleagues and I have a somewhat unusual request of your editorial office. The attached document is a detailed re-evaluation of the HIV/AIDS theory. For several decades we have closely followed the evolution of this theory and the data upon which it was based. In our view the theory was formulated on evidence and observations that were not always subjected to the expected strict scientific rigour.

Consequently its conclusions and predictions need to be thoroughly questioned and the precise nature of “HIV” redefined. We are aware that the topic is contentious, especially as some well-publicised challenges to the orthodox view have had deleterious public health implications.

Our request to you as guardians of scientific thought and integrity is to assess our critique, and see whether in your considered opinion it is worthy of being brought to the attention of the scientific community. If you decide that it is, we would then like to prepare, under your guidance, a concise version for publication.

Despite repeated requests, three editors did not acknowledge receipt of our email. All responses came from editorial committees. One was “we do not encourage pre-submission enquiries”; another, we “respectfully pass on having the opportunity to publish a paper on this topic at this time. Best of luck publishing your work in another good journal”. A third, “After considering its focus, content, and interest, we made the editorial decision not to consider your proposal further.

We are informing you of this decision promptly so that you can submit your manuscript elsewhere”. All replies ignored our request for a private appraisal and/or responded as if the manuscript were a submission for publication (a futile exercise given that no editor would accept a paper of this length).