Pharmac. & Ther. Vol. 55: 201-277, 1992


Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, 229 Stanley Hall, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, U.S.A.

1. Virus-Aids Hypothesis Fails to Predict Epidemiology and Pathology of Aids

At a press conference in April 1984, the American Secretary of Health and Human Services announced that the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) was an infectious disease, caused by a sexually and parenterally transmitted retrovirus, now termed human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The announcement predicted an antiviral vaccine within two years (Connor, 1987; Adams, 1989; Farber, 1992; Hodgkinson, 1992).

However, the hypothesis has been a complete failure in terms of public health benefits. Despite unprecedented efforts in research and health care, the hypothesis has failed to generate the promised vaccine, and it has failed to develop a cure (Thompson, 1990; Savitz, 1991; Duesberg, 1992b; Waldholz, 1992). The U.S. Government alone spends annually about $1 billion for AIDS research and about $3 billion for AIDS-related health care (National Center for Health Statistics, 1992). The situation has become so desperate that the director for AIDS research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) promotes via press release, eight years after HIV was declared the cause of AIDS, an as yet unedited paper, which has no more to offer than a renewed effort at causing AIDS in monkeys: "The best possible situation would be to have a human virus [HIV] that infects monkeys" (Steinbrook, 1992). This is said nine years after the NIH first started infecting chimpanzees with HIV-over 150 so far at a cost of $40,000-50,000 apiece-all of which are still healthy (Hilts, 1992; Steinbrook, 1992) (Section 3.3 and Jorg Eichberg, personal communication).

Moreover, the virus-AIDS hypothesis has failed completely to predict the course of the epidemic (Institute of Medicine, 1988; Duesberg, 1989c, 1991a; Duesberg and Ellison, 1990; Thompson, 1990; Savitz, 1991). For example, the NIH and others have predicted that AIDS would "explode" into the general population (Shorter, 1987; Anderson and May, 1992) and the Global AIDS Policy Coalition from Harvard's International AIDS Center declared in June 1992, "The pandemic is dynamic, volatile and unstable.... An explosion of HIV has recently occurred in Southeast Asia, in Thailand ..." (Mann and the Global AIDS Policy Coalition, 1992). But despite widespread alarm the "general population" has been spared from AIDS, although there is a general increase in unwanted pregnancies and conventional venereal diseases (Institute of Medicine, 1988; Aral and Holmes, 1991). Instead, American and European AIDS has spread, during the last 10 years, steadily but almost exclusively among intravenous drug users and male homosexuals who were heavy users of sexual stimulants and had hundreds of sexual partners (Sections 2.1.3, 3.3.4 and 4.3.2).

The hypothesis even fails to predict the AIDS diseases an infected person may develop and whether and when an HIV-infected person is to develop either diarrhea or dementia, Kaposi's sarcoma or pneumonia (Grimshaw, 1987; Albonico, 1991a,b). In addition the hypothesis fails to explain why the annual AIDS risks differ over 100-fold between different HIV-infected risk groups, i.e. recipients of transfusions, babies born to drug-addicted mothers, American/European homosexuals, intravenous drug users, hemophiliacs and Africans (Section 3.4.4).

Clearly a correct medical hypothesis might not produce a cure or the prevention of a disease, as for example theories on cancer or sickle-cell anemia. However, a correct medical hypothesis must be able to (1) identify those at risk for a disease, (2) predict the kind of disease a person infected or affected by its putative cause will get, (3) predict how soon disease will follow its putative cause and (4) lead to a determination of how the putative agent causes the disease. Since this is not true for the virus-AIDS hypothesis, this hypothesis must be fundamentally flawed. Further, it seems particularly odd that an AIDS vaccine cannot be developed, since HIV induces highly effective virus-neutralizing antibodies within weeks after infection (Clark et al., 1991; Daar et al., 1991). These are the same antibodies that are detected by the widely used "AIDS-test" (Institute of Medicine, 1986; Duesberg, 1989c; Rubinstein, 1990).

In view of this, AIDS is subjected here to a critical analysis aimed at identifying a cause that can correctly predict its epidemiology, pathology and progression.