DUESBERG REPLIES TO
PAPADOPULOS-ELEOPULOS ET AL. (II)
I am honoured by the profound and passionate reactions of Hodgkinson,
Lanka and Papadopulos-Eleopulos et al. to my letter on the existence
or the non-existence of HIV (1-3).
However, I cannot surrender to the HIV-non-existentialists for the following
two scientific reasons:
1) The weakest point of the HlV-non-existentialists is their failure
to explain the origin of "19 sequences encompassing the full-length,
10kb-HIV-1 genome" (3) and "19 full-length HIV genomes"
(1). Hence Papadopulos et al.’s unanswered question: "Can one
exclude the possibility that the 19 ‘full length HIV genomes’ described
so far, even if they all had the same length of 9150 bp [base pairs] and
identical sequences are nothing more than a chance finding among the many
molecular species present in the cultures, or even the uncultured lymphocytes....?"
(3), that were "taken from AIDS patients and AIDS risk groups",
as Hodgkinson points out. (1)
Yes, one can exclude that. Remember the odds of coming up with even
one nucleotide sequence of 9150 bp by chance are astronomically low, namely
1 in 49150 which is very very close to zero (see my letter in
the July/August Continuum 4). The chance of coming up 19-times with
the same HIV-DNAs, even "from cultures treated with chemical or physical
oxidants" (3) are another 19 orders of magnitude lower than finding
it once by chance. Indeed the odds are much much lower than finding 19
guys on this planet with the same phone numbers.
Science offers but one rational origin for such sequences appearing
"very occasionally"’ in species, namely viruses or other infectious
agents. Thus the virus hypothesis is not a "specious"’ explanation
for the origin of 9150 bp DNA that is "very occasionally" found
in AIDS patients.
2) The HlV-non-existentialists also fail to realize that available isolation
efforts have already adequately identified the 9150 bases as the genome
of a virus. In order to "isolate" a given infectious agent, one
needs no more than to isolate it from all other, possibly contaminating,
infectious agents - this is in fact Koch’s second postulate.
Since viruses have an extracellular and intracellular existence, viruses
can be isolated from two entirely different sources:
(i) Viruses have been traditionally isolated from extracellular fluids.
Such viruses may be contaminated by extracellular proteins, nucleic acids
and possibly other microbes.
Montagnier’s original isolate of HIV from extracellular fluids is an
example. Indeed, Montagnier’s isolate appears to meet functional standards
of isolation adequately, because two of the world’s leading retrovirologists,
Robert Gallo of the NIH and Robin Weiss of the Chester Beatty have re-isolated
only HIV from Montagnier’s virus stock (5,6). If Montagnier’s virus
had been grossly contaminated by other viruses or microbes, those would
have been found by Gallo and Weiss.
(ii) Since the 1980s viruses can also be isolated as infectious nucleic
acids from infected cells. Such infectious nucleic acids initiate replication
of virus in uninfected cells from which new virus particles are subsequently
released. In this case viral nucleic acid is contaminated by cellular nucleic
acid, and possible other intracellular viruses.
As I pointed out in my Missing Virus Reward claim in the July/August
Continuum, infectious HIV DNA has been isolated from infected cells
several times by molecular cloning (4). This cloned, infectious HIV DNA
of 9150 bases represents an almost theoretical isolation, as it is a 100,0000-fold
purification from all nucleic acids of the cell and its possible viruses.
This is because the human cell contains 1 million kilobases of DNA and
HIV only 10. Contrary to Papadopulos et al.’s slogan - "No
isolation no cloning" - cloning is isolation, and is in fact the most
rigorous isolation science has to offer for retroviruses.
Thus the high standards of virus isolation from extracellular materials
postulated by Papadopulos et al. and Hodgkinson may be relevant
for crystallographers or chemists who want to analyze the structure of
a virus, but are not relevant for functional isolation.
In view of this I hope to liberate the minds of HIV dissidents from
HIV for the cause that unites us all - the solution of AIDS. It seems tragic
that over 99% of AIDS researchers study a virus that does not cause AIDS
and that the few who don’t are now engaged in a debate over the existence
of a virus that doesn’t cause AIDS. *
Source: Continuum Feb./March 1997
1. Hodgkinson N. Origin of the specious. Continuum
1996, 4: September/October, pp17-18
2. Lanka S. Collective fallacy; Rethinking HIV. Continuum
1996, 4: September/October, pp19-20
3. Papadopulos-Eleopulos E, Turner V, Papadimitriou J,
Causer D. The isolation of HIV: has it really been achieved? The case against.
Continuum 1996; 4: September/October, Supplement pp1-24,.
4. Duesberg PH. Duesberg’s HIV. Continuum 1996;
4: July/August, pp8-9
5. Weiss R. Provenance of HIV strains. Nature 1991;
6. Cohen J. HHS: Gallo guilty of misconduct. Science
1993; 259: 168-170