Current Medical Research and Opinion
Vol. 14: 185-186, 1998

HIV Antibody Tests and Viral Load - More Unanswered Questions and a Further Plea for Clarification

Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos (1), Valendar F.Turner (2), John M. Papadimitriou (3), David Causer (1), Barry Page (1)

(1) Department of Medical Physics, (2) Department of Emergency Medicine, Royal Perth Hospital, Perth, Western Australia; (3) Department of Pathology, University of Western Australia

At present it is accepted that in 1983 Montagnier proved the existence of HIV. In their 1983 study Montagnier and his colleagues took the supernatant from cultures containing tissue derived from AIDS patients and banded it in sucrose density gradients. They claimed that the 1.16 gm/ml band represented purified virus.(1) Some of the proteins and RNAs were considered to represent the retroviral proteins and retroviral genome respectively. Subsequently the proteins were used as antigens for the antibody tests and the nucleic acids for hybridisation and PCR studies. Indeed, it is logical that if the 1.16 gm/ml band contained purified viral-like particles and the particles were infectious, one has no choice but to consider both the proteins and the RNA as being viral constituents.

Since then many other researchers have conducted similar experiments. However, for some unknown reason, up to 1997, neither Montagnier’s group nor anybody else published electron micrographs of the 1.16gm/ml band showing that the band contained nothing else but particles with the morphological characteristics of retroviral particles, that is, purified particles. The reason for this, at least for the Montagnier group, became obvious in an interview Montagnier gave in July 1997 to the French journalist Djamel Tahi. When Montagnier was asked why such electron micrographs were not published, his answer was because, even after "Roman effort", they could see no particles with "morphology typical of retroviruses".(2)

Since the band did not contain even retrovirus-like particles, not to mention retroviral particles nor indeed particles with unique retroviral morphology as the HIV is said to be, the questions then arise:

1. How is it possible to claim proof for retroviral purification and thus for the existence of HIV?

2. How is it possible to consider the proteins which banded at 1.16gm/ml to be the proteins of a unique retrovirus, HIV, and to use them as antigens in antibody tests to prove infection with a deadly retrovirus, HIV?

3. How is it possible to consider the RNAs which banded at 1.16gm/ml represents the genome of a unique retrovirus and to use these as probes and primers for hybridisation and PCR tests to prove infection with this virus and in fact to measure the viral load?


1. Barré-Sinoussi F, Chermann JC, Rey F. (1983). Isolation of a T-Lymphotrophic Retrovirus from a patient at Risk for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Science 220:868-871

(2) Tahi D. (1998). Did Luc Montagnier discover HIV? Text of video interview with Professor Luc Montagnier at the Pasteur Institute July 18th 1997. Continuum 5:30-34