The bare essentials of the Eleopulos and colleagues paper are:

1. No researcher has yet presented evidence for the isolation of any particle, retroviral-like or otherwise, proven to be a retrovirus by virtue of demonstrating its ability to produce exact copies of itself when placed in an "uninfected" cell culture. Although the method for retroviral isolation was thoroughly discussed at and published by the Pasteur Institute in 1973 no HIV researcher has yet presented evidence for HIV isolation by this method.

2. It is invalid to speak of HIV particles, HIV proteins, HIV RNA or HIV DNA (cDNA) or even entertain the notion of HIV antigens or molecular or viral cloning without such proof.

3. The detection in culture fluids of reverse transcription of the primer-template A(n).dT15 is not specific proof for the presence of a retrovirus.

4. The "HIV proteins" are defined as the subset of proteins (approximately 20%) of the proteins present in cultures/co-cultures of tissues from AIDS patients which react with some antibodies present in some AIDS patient sera. However, it is not possible to declare any protein a component of a unique, exogenously acquired retrovirus by means of an antigen/antibody reaction.

5. There is no proof that any of the "HIV proteins" are coded by the "HIV genome". And, for example, in a computer-assisted analysis of the amino acid sequences of the envelope protein complexes derived from the nucleotide sequences of seven AIDS virus isolates, it was reported that gp41 protein, which should have a molecular weight of 41,000, had a calculated weight of 52,000 to 54,000.

6. There is disagreement as to which are the "specific" HIV proteins and thus which proteins are significant in defining HIV infection on the basis of the HIV Western blot antibody test. Presently, worldwide there are at least ten major sets of criteria for defining a positive HIV Western blot and hence HIV infection. Thus positivity and infection in some institutions or countries is not positivity or infection in others.

7. The "HIV RNA" and "HIV DNA" are defined on the basis of length (approximately 10,000 nucleotides) and chemical composition (adenine rich) of all the RNA present in cultures of tissues of AIDS patients, NOT on the basis of RNA extracted from a particle first isolated and then proven to be a retrovirus.

8. In 1990 the HIV genome was said to consist of ten genes. This year Montagnier reported that HIV possesses eight genes and according to Barr‚-Sinoussi, HIV has nine genes. Neither is there constancy of the number of nucleotides in the "HIV genome". Also, to date, only 11 full length "HIV genomes" have been sequenced and accordingly, HIV genotype consignments are derived from sequence analysis of subgenomes measuring 2% to 30% of the total. The data is that such "genomes" vary between 3-40%. (If 30% of the HIV genome varies as much as 40%, how much does 100% of the HIV genome vary? In the HIV Western blot, how can an HIV producing one set of proteins detect antibodies that are produced in response to the set of all other disparate "HIV genomes"? When does "HIV" become some other entity?). Thus, not only are there no two HIV genomes of the same length or nucleotide composition, there is no single genetic entity "HIV DNA" to describe the myriads of "HIV genomes". It is also estimated that patients contain between one and one hundred million distinct HIV DNAs at the one time. Neither is it correct to encompass such DNAs under the umbrella of a quasispecies of "closely related genomes".

9. Even if there were proof for the isolation of a unique, exogenously acquired retrovirus with a unique stretch of RNA (cDNA), there is no evidence for the cloning of HIV.

10. There are many mechanisms, all well known to retrovirologists and which have nothing to do with the acquisition of an exogenous retrovirus, that may explain all the "HIV phenomena", that is, the generation of particles, proteins and nucleic acids in AIDS patients or in cultures/co-cultures of tissues from AIDS patients. For example, the types of cells used to "culture HIV" may exhibit such phenomena independently of being "infected with HIV".

11. Neither the HIV antibody tests nor the HIV genomic tests have been appraised by reference to the only scientifically valid gold standard, HIV isolation. Notwithstanding, in one study, the concordance between HIV serology and "HIV DNA" varied between 40- 100% and in another study only 74% of patients were positive for plasma "HIV RNA". In "Seven French laboratories with extensive experience in PCR detection of HIV DNA", the data revealed that of 138 samples shown to contain "HIV DNA", 34 (25%) did not contain "HIV antibodies" while of 262 specimens that did not contain "HIV DNA", 17 (6%) did contain "HIV antibodies".

12. Regardless of the above, for retrovirologists, proof of the existence and pathogenicity of a given retrovirus is contingent upon demonstration of specific antibodies to retroviral proteins. The significance of this fact is demonstrated by the example of HL23V, the "first" human retrovirus discovered by Gallo in the mid 1970s, By 1980, the demonstration that antibodies to HL23V were non-specific led to its precipitous demise, so much so that Gallo now never mentions his "first" virus and regards HTLV-I as the "first" human retrovirus. In addition to the evidence presented in the Eleopulos et al 1993 Bio/Technology paper, further data is presented that the 88% of AIDS patients infected with one or more fungal (including Pneumocystis carinni) or mycobacterial species contain antibodies to such organisms which may cross react with "HIV proteins" found in the HIV Western blot. Thus it is impossible to claim that such diseases are caused by HIV on the basis of an antibody test or that "HIV seropositivity" in such patients is caused by HIV.

The authors
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