IUBio Biosequences .. Software .. Molbio soft .. Network News .. FTP

Lanka's response to Harris

Todd Miller - Pharmacology tmiller at newssun.med.miami.edu
Fri Jul 28 08:16:57 EST 1995


Dr. Stefan Lanka answers critic Steven B. Harris M.D.'s
rejoinder to his paper, "HIV: Reality or Artefact".


Dr Steven B Harris will no doubt consider it an impertinence
even to respond to his "rebuttal" of the thesis I put forward
in my article on HIV in the capacity of a "purported"
virologist, striking as it does at the very bedrock of his
credo. I console myself that while I make no claims to
infallibility, I have no doubt that I am a virologist,
moreover, one motivated only by altruism, and untroubled by
any worries that I may have despatched any friend or patient
to an entirely unnecessary and painful death, through craven
obeisance to an ill-thought out medical theory concocted by a
French mediocrity who, right from the start, doubted the
validity of a virus-only theory of AIDS causation and only
last week unleashed a new wave of doubt; and an American
scientific gangster who had committed so many crass,
self-aggrandising blunders in the previous decade, that he
could not really be relied upon to tell the time correctly.  

I have also not forgotten the First Commandment of my
profession: above all, do no harm!  

It is, of course, only supposition on my part to think that
elementary cell biology forms any part of the curriculum of
medical training of American doctors. If so, it is astonishing
that Harris has either forgotten it all, or is wilfully
ignoring it, for reasons best known to himself.   

That said, I must compliment my critic on his courage and
relative erudition, for it is not often that, in my admittedly
still limited experience of life, a mere doctor knowingly
crosses swords with a molecular biologist/virologist on the
latter's home ground. Doctors are normally more at ease
speculating about the vagaries of epidemiology than engaging
in disputation with the practitioner of an exact science.  

Harris's simple mistake is to have ignored well-known
intracellular structural particles common to all metabolically
active cells, of which there are many - specifically, what are
called "coated vesicles". Their function is to transport
metabolic decay products out of living cells.   

This is hardly a pardonable error, since basic prudence on his
part should have led him to study fairly closely the
differences between electron micrographs of microsomes in
general, and coated vesicles in particular, with or without
the help of a specialist in this field - it did after all form
one of the two main planks of my article. Neither virus
particles nor cellular particles are rarities in the
literature. Contrary to Harris's little joke, I have spent an
enormous amount of time in libraries, far too much of it
wasted trying to make sense of the mile upon mile of bookshelf
devoted to the riddle of "cancer-causing" viruses (of which
more below). Harris clearly would have benefitted hugely
looking down an electron microscope more often, and allowing
himself to be enchanted by the multiplicity of such "Harris"
viruses, more widely known as coated vesicles. This would have
made him realise that their very ubiquity in healthy tissues
meant they could not be responsible for any pathogenicity.  

Harris's strategy appears to be to launch a shut-out bid by
declaring HIV to be a lentivirus, as if that explained
anything. Lentiviruses are an even worse case of virological
muddle than HIV, in that they, too, have never been isolated
nor proven to do what is alleged of them.  Fiddling around
with them has been going on for 20 years at least - to no
effect - whereas with HIV it has only been 10! One very
important difference, though, between the two situations is
that lentiviruses have at worst affected only a handful of
animals with so little consequence, that most scientists would
be hard pressed to say anything about them, whereas HIV has
spawned one of the worst mistakes in the annals of medicine, a
veritable nightmare for those affected, and a significant
impairment of the quality of life of those who just live in
dread of it.   

Whether lentivirus or not, it is a nullity ab initio to seek
to prove anything in science by arguing by analogy. That is
the negation of the scientific method. Whatever may be true of
FLeV, FIV, SIV etc. has no bearing on the existence or
function of HIV. Points of visual similarity do not constitute
proof of identity nor function. To assert otherwise means
either that he has never looked properly at electron
micrographs, or he is deluding himself.  

The fatuity of his reasoning is highlighted (quite
fortuitously) by the recent "discovery" that HIV is most
definitely not a lentivirus. Lenti- means slow. Because since
January 1995, don't we have it on the highest authority that
HIV replicates very rapidly, at a rate of 1000 million
particles a day, every day, for an average of 10 years?
Anybody with an ounce of common sense must have realised that
a virus cannot have been barely detectable for the first 10
years of its existence, then suddenly turn out to be
"hyperactive" after all. The answer to this conundrum is quite
simple: AIDS science is not science at all, just empty
posturing as such. Proper science is never made at press
conferences, it does not operate by decree, it is not a matter
of developing a consensus, and it should not totter from
"revelation" to "revelation", with theory made "on the hoof",
a hodge-podge of mysterious mechanisms requiring further
billions to finance an army of scientific bureaucrats.  

Inexplicable failures in the predictions of a scientific
theory should spell its death. That is the essence of the
scientific method. Consistent failure in respect of HIV should
long ago have sufficed to dismiss it as a cause of AIDS. That
it continues nonetheless, makes it just an article of faith,
and reduces belief in it to the status of a religion.  

An analysis of Dr Steven B Harris's answer to my paper "HIV -
Reality or Artefact" has just appeared in Continuum Magazine
(London), June/July 1995 (tel +181 961 1170, fax +181 961
2330).  

The format adopted there was of stating the point at issue
followed by Harris's comment with my answer to that,
juxtaposed. To pursue this format here would clearly become
very unwieldy, and the use of photographs on e-mail transcends
my technical expertise. I have, therefore, summarised the
points raised by Harris, and appended my answers to them.  

Dr Harris is clearly quite an intelligent man, so his very
first point "Strangely enough, Lanka does not explain what
we're seeing in all those electron micrographs" has me tearing
my hair out, because a few paragraphs further down he provides
his own answer that "less well-known is the existence of other
particles which look like viruses but aren't, and are
nonchalantly referred to as "virus-like" particles. Such
particles are far from rare, found, for example, always in
placentas, and very frequently in the artificial environment
of laboratory cell cultures. They have served to muddy the
waters considerably as far as AIDS research is concerned,
because particles just like these have been called HIV."   

What is one to make of such crassness? Is the whole AIDS
tragedy currently being played out just a little game for
Harris? It is a property of all biologically active cells that
they contain intra-cellular particles called microsomes,
perixomes and lysosomes, which are particulate in nature, and
to the untutored eye could be mistaken for virus particles.
Harris seems to forget that most people can actually think,
and flip back to see what has been said before, a number of
other such howlers (deliberate deceptions?) will be pointed
out below.   

Harris then describes some properties of lentiviruses, which
are an entirely separate issue. It is true that while these
have a recognisable shape (as opposed to being just an
amorphous mess), and do indeed have what appear to be knobs
(the famous CD4 receptors) which shear off so easily, this to
a proper scientist does not suffice to make them viruses.
Sorry! Microsomes, perixomes and lysosomes also have
recognisable shapes and many have spikes of some kind on them.
The important point Harris cannot or will not comprehend is
that these lentiviral micrographs are never of the viruses he
is so fond of quoting, but are always interspersed with other
structures and debris, which is crucial to my case.  

Harris goes on: 
"HIV-1 and HIV-2, the two viruses isolated from human AIDS
patients"  

If they had indeed been isolated, as he claims, nothing
further need be said; the whole point is that they have *not*
been isolated, indeed, the title "isolated viruses" occurs
several times in my references which does not mean they have
actually been isolated, of course.  

Harris's attitude is quite extraordinary. He admits that 
"there are existent studies in which less than perfect-looking
particles have been called HIV, and assumed to be HIV, but
some of these studies have no doubt also seen cellular debris
or other retrovirus which can be mistaken for HIV or other
lentiviruses if not all identifying features are present.
However, there are quite enough studies in which all the
lentivirus characteristics noted above ARE present in EM
photographs, and morphology is considerably more clear.  In
these studies, the viruses in the electron micrographs are
clearly either EIAV, FIV, SIV, or HIV-1, or HIV-2."  

Yet the caption to the micrograph Harris quotes repeatedly,
clearly states "sections of co-sedimented HIV and latex
spheres ... along with membranous and macromolecular debris
..." Out of his own mouth therefore he admits that these
isolated particles are not true isolated particles, but a
heterogeneous mixture containing unspecified impurities. What
is the matter with the man! In case anybody is wondering why
there are latex spheres present in Harris's virus isolation:
well, they are there to stop the particles from crushing each
other. In other words, if they were not there all the "HIV"
particles would disintegrate. The use of latex condoms may
therefore be contra-indicated, because they may inadvertently
- by an indirect mechanism, naturally - keep HIV particles
viable by stopping them from crushing each other in the
ejaculate. Just a thought, anything is possible in AIDS
science.  

Harris then turns his sights on the section in my original
paper in which I explained how it came about that retroviruses
were long suspected of causing cancer. He says   

"This is, in general, untrue.  Not all cancers were blamed on
viruses.  Many viruses, such as FLeV, FIV, SIV, and even DNA
viruses with reverse transcriptase activity, like
hepadnaviruses in woodchucks were proven experimentally to
cause cancer in lab animals, and even in random source animals
(pet store animals, such as cats) brought to the lab and given
virus."  

Is this an answer? Does this explain which cancers were
thought of as being due to viruses and which not? I consider
it decidedly sick of Harris to juxtapose cancers in
woodchucks, pet store animals and cats with the ongoing curse
of our age, real cancers of many kinds. Is he really so naive
as to believe that the billions of dollars devoured annually
by the NCI in the US alone was to deal with cancers in
woodchucks and cats?  

What is the point of making excuses now about the mass failure
by the scientific community then, and to wax eloquent about
some detail about HIV which he finds "elegant". The fact of
the matter is that then, about  cancer, as now about HIV, the
fundamental science is wrong, and no amount of epidemiological
soft soap "isn't it funny that ..." can rectify it. Moreover,
he was not himself responsible for this fiasco, so why is he
bothering to defend it. He has enough on his conscience with
the present situation.  

The War on Cancer declared by President Nixon on 23/12/1991,
based on the notion that viruses cause cancer implied that all
cancers are caused by viruses, for one thing because those
researchers who did not accept this were ignored and
de-funded. It is a gross deception, like everything to do with
HIV and AIDS is in our time, to say otherwise. To grasp what
was produced in a test-tube and what is still being produced
in them, I strongly recommend reading the paper by Peyton Rous
(J Exp Med, 1911, 13, 397), especially noting his comment   

"the first tendency will be to regard the self-perpetuating
agent active in this sarcoma of the fowl as a minute parasitic
organism. Analogy with several infectious diseases of man and
the lower animals, caused by ultramicroscopic organisms, gives
support to this view of the findings, and at present work is
being directed to its experimental verification. But an agency
of another sort is not out of the question. It is conceivable
that a chemical stimulant, elaborated by the neoplastic cells,
might cause the tumour in another host and bring about in
consequence a further production of the same stimulant"  

The ludicrous situation in which contemporary cancer research
has manoeuvred itself into is described by Gerald B Dermer,
who provides the evidence that cancer in vitro and cancer in
vivo have nothing to do with each other.

So let us look in some detail at what Harris *thinks* is an
isolation of HIV (Virology, 1992, 189, 695). It bears the
inauspicious title "Factors underlying spontaneous
inactivation and susceptibility to neutralisation of Human
Immunodeficiency Virus", which rather suggests that it is not
a very stable entity, as indeed it isn't. So unstable, in
fact, that it disintegrates spontaneously.

What one then sees on page 700 is nothing other than a
preparation of the above mentioned cellular particles, which
are of different sizes and shapes, and, as the caption clearly
states, are contaminated with "membranous residues" and
"macromolecular fragments". This is *not* what an isolated
virus preparation should look like. What they should look like
can be seen in any virology textbook (and shown in Continuum).
When real viruses are isolated, they do not need "fixing",
which means embedding them in a resin to stop them from
falling apart, nor slicing into ultra-thin sections to show up
detail, only then being in a fit state to be photographed in
an electron microscope. Isolated virus preparations should
contain no impurities, and after staining in one piece to give
contrast, are ready to be photographed. All particles should
look alike. All viruses that are real, have been isolated and
photographed in this way. The reader, open-minded AIDS
researchers and especially Steven B. Harris could do worse
than look at the publication about a virus in whose isolating
and characterisation I myself was involved in (Virology, 1995,
206, 1, and Continuum).   

Harris gets himself into deep water by trying to come to grips
"hard" science by questioning my contention that the correct
characterisation of viral proteins has not been performed.   

What is needed are photographs of the native gels of the
proteins and of the nucleic acid, so as to prevent the
skulduggery, as we shall see.   

Harris thinks the missing proteins of HIV are found in the
Cohen et al paper. But all that we see there is more fiddling
and tinkering with the evidence, which in a criminal case
would land him in prison for suppression of material evidence.
We see the result of radiolabelled SDS (detergent) polyacrylic
amid gel electrophoresis (PAGE). One needs to see the proteins
on the SDS gel *before* antibodies to it were formed and
radiolabelled. If you have something to show, and above all if
you want to prove that the proteins of a virus have been
isolated and separated according to size, then the native gel
has to be shown before further experiments are conducted. This
is standard procedure - except, of course, in this case where
it really matters! If you attempted this with HIV isolations
you would find that many proteins wouldn't fit in with the
conventional HIV model. To get round this problem, only photos
of certain antibodies which bind to selected proteins are
shown, and the other proteins, which remain unbound by
antibodies is not revealed. Only selected proteins are made
visible by binding to antibodies, because only pre-selected
proteins are used to inoculate experimental animals which are
used to produce, with which these proteins are detected. The
same applies to humans in whom only antibodies to proteins are
produced with which they had previously been in immunological
contact, i.e. inoculated with (except rheumatism and
autoimmune disease). It is quite a difficult argument to
follow which will leave many a head spinning, but that is how
AIDS science works.  

Variations of an original error (Ratner et al.) may enchant
Harris, but remain an error just the same. They show once
again that something has been obtained from the cell soup, not
from a virus.  

Harris goes on to explain that the evidence that the knobs
attach HIV to cells is "massive", as if he had the requisite
training to evaluate the evidence.   

The evidence of 100,000 papers on HIV and AIDS should indeed
be massive; unfortunately (or rather, mercifully) not one of
them contains any direct evidence for the existence of HIV nor
of its components. What is required is a standard isolation
experiment, not something fanciful like sprinkling cloned DNA
on to cell cultures and seeing what happens.   

That they throw some mouse genes into cell cultures and
produce something mouse-specific, is just modern alchemy. That
resistance to antibiotics is also been bred in, transgresses
against all scientific decencies, paid for by us, the
taxpayer. Such misuse of public money is quite appalling. How
can it be justified? It is scientifically unacceptable to
dream up explanations of what went wrong, and proceed as if
nothing of significance had happened, as is usually the case
in AIDS "science".  

We now join Alice in Wonderland in which Harris explains in
greater detail how this "science" works, to wit, the concept
of "co-purification", hitherto unknown to science.   

He says "these are the same proteins which are coded for by
the viral genome, and which *co-purify* with the infectious
virus on sucrose gradients, as noted above. Why does it take a
stretch of the imagination to image that they are viral
proteins?"  

Answer: 
Something that co-purifies with something else is of no
interest to anyone. Individual proteins should have a density
that is entirely different to complete viruses, and should for
that reason *not* band at the same density as viruses! It
seems that these researchers have never even learned the
ground rules of cell biology and virology. The quality of
evidence that convinces Harris is frightening.  

To try once more: second and third generation tests use
*synthetic* proteins, clearly therefore they are not viral.
How can something that is synthesised be viral. A virus is a
creation of nature. Their use is an attempt to maximise
reproducibility. Is that really so difficult to understand?  

We now come to various observations where Harris finds it
expedient to act dumb. In my original paper I quoted from the
instruction leaflet accompanying one test kit, namely,   

"The test for the existence of antibodies against
AIDS-associated virus is not diagnostic for AIDS and AIDS-like
diseases. Negative test results do not exclude the possibility
of contact or infection with the AIDS-associated virus.
Positive test results do not prove that someone has an AIDS or
pre-AIDS disease status nor that he will acquire it"  Harris
feigns incomprehension. The significance of it is that the
manufacturers are aware of the difficulty of interpreting any
result, because from experience they know any number of
conditions unrelated to HIV/AIDS can test positive, equally
that people can test negative and "indeterminate", yet still
develop AIDS. Harris then goes in for some face-saving goal
post moving by introducing the novel orthodoxy that not all
HIV-infected people develop AIDS.   

I originally observed that some HIV researchers have tried to
circumvent the problem by pointing to something called
"direct" evidence for the virus. All that this meant, though,
was arbitrarily selecting a protein of a certain size which
happened to coincide with that shown in HIV models. The
delusion of such "evidence" was illustrated when the protein
later turned out to be of human origin!  

to which Harris answered: 
"neither gp-160 nor the viral reverse transcriptase of HIV
(which is magnesium dependent, unlike any in your cells) are
of 'human origin'. You will find none in any human cell
uninfected with HIV. Both are coded in the genome of HIV".  

p24 is the direct evidence for HIV as far as most HIV
researchers are concerned. Steven B. Harris tries to distract
attention by using reverse transcriptase and gp160, which have
never been considered in this context. gp160 is nothing other
than a cellular precursor protein, and the famous reverse
transcriptase is not even correctly demonstrated, because the
RNA template used for this is readily converted into DNA by
cellular DNA polymerases. The magnesium ion argument,
therefore, is just another damp squib.  

If reverse transcriptase were really proven, which is
questionable given the lamentable state of AIDS research, then
it would have to be encoded the special cell lines need to
make HIV. Where's the problem?  

We now come to one of the 3 essential points of my paper,
namely, to explain what actually happens when they try to
prepared HIV. Harris dismisses it as "a sorry tale" and
"baloney". This is hardly an answer, though I appreciate that
it is all he can do. It is pretty obvious that Harris's grasp
of all of this is pretty tenuous, and a successful rebuttal,
if there were one, is well and truly beyond his grasp of the
subject. Since I consider the AIDS disaster is anything other
than a joke, I can only advise him to put a cold towel over
his head, check out my references, and come up with a better
answer.  

Needless to say Harris's standing does not rise in anybody's
eyes when he has to rope in Gallo's problem to help him out.
How fatuous to rebut one non-existent virus with another
non-existent virus. Does he really think Gallo didn't prepare
HTLV-III but did HTLV-I? It is surely obvious to everyone by
now, that Gallo has never done anything right in his life. Has
Harris not read the Crewdson Report in the Chicago Tribune; is
he unaware of the Office of Scientific Integrity's findings;
is he not aware that Gallo has finally got the push from the
NCI? Yet he has the nerve to bother people with some problem
Gallo may have had cooking the books.   

What an insult of an answer for Harris to waffle on about
cross-reacting sera. If one does not know the answer to a
problem, the correct answer is to say "I don't know". No-one
can adjudge a technical problem on a highly specialised
subject not in his field. Flu vaccines, hepatitis B and
malaria all cross-react with HIV tests; whether a horse virus
nobody has heard of nor cares about, also does so is about as
relevant as the price of tea in China.  

It is perfectly understandable that Harris has difficulty in
rebutting the template switching and hybridisation arguments
put forward in my paper. I am a virologist, and this is pure
virology. Does he think I woke up one morning and said to
myself "let's play silly buggers, and put it about that HIV
didn't really exist." Of course not. No doctor could possibly
rebut it without the help of a top-rate virologist. If a
Duesberg tried, I'd pay attention, but talk of sera and
antigens, what next!  Harris the gets carried away rather by
his own rhetoric in saying  "actually, one cannot help asking
who nobody has spotted the flaw in Lanka's argument, which
suggests that "HIV DNA" must be in every normal cell, since
HIV as a separate entity does not exist, and therefore no DNA
PCR test can ever be "negative" on anyone.  Yet these tests
routinely find no HIV DNA in HIV negative people."

One major difference between what I have suggested and what
the AIDS-Establishment blithely accepts, is that the former is
a working hypothesis offered in the spirit of true scientific
endeavour, subject to revision and intelligent criticism,
whereas the latter is totally failed dogma.  

It is my humble opinion that the sequences are endogenous, and
anybody can prove it. Not only in man, of course, but also in
the special cell cultures that always have to be used to make
HIV. But here's the rub, dear Dr Harris! That is how HT23 (the
first human retrovirus) was discovered in 1975, but which
Gallo very soon thereafter had to withdraw from the "market",
because vociferous ape virologists staked an earlier claim to
it. This also explains why Gallo and Montagnier published
almost identical sequences, because he had purloined them as
endogenous sequences from Montagnier; only illicit collusion
could have produced the concordance that was obtained. Not
only between these two, but also between Robin Weiss, although
the Pasteur Institute has up till now not sued him for patent
infringement. The evidence is available at the Patent Office
in London for all to see.   

One reason why in the so-called PCR controls nothing is found,
is that the human cells used to act as controls, are not
stimulated (stressed) in the same way as those in which one
wants to detect HIV, ie. they don't compare like with like.
The RNA detected in PCR tests is not expressed under normal
conditions, because they do not belong to the normal
repertoire of nucleic acid. The RNA detected is formed in
response to stress when cells in short term cultures begin
dying, or are treated in such a way that its cellular activity
is disturbed, and "retroviral sequences" are expressed which
are not formed (transcribed) otherwise.  

PCR only detects very short stretches of DNA that in this case
are supposed to be components of the genetic material of
viruses. If one succeeds in this, it is immediately described
as "PCR positive", implying that the remainder of the genetic
material ascribed to HIV, is found somewhere else. This is
pure guesswork!  

On careful reading of Harris's references on PCR and many
others, one discovers that a number of PCR tests for viral RNA
use *chromosomal* DNA as controls! As every genetics student
would object immediately, this can't be done. Transcription
into RNA changes the gene sequence, ie. the RNA is "edited";
on reverse transcription back into DNA it is no longer the
original DNA.  

Starter molecules needed for this edited DNA are now prepared
which fit this DNA, but not the original. Herein lies the
wizardry! A wonderful piece of deception, and available for
all to see! All recounted history! Regrettably, with terrible
consequences. The argument is tricky, and if Harris can't or
is reluctant to grasp it, then so be it. I have never claimed
that HIV DNA is present in every human being, for the obvious
reason that it doesn't exist except as a lab construct.  

Harris asks: 
"then why does a positive test give you a 50% chance of dying
of immunodeficiency in 10 years? That's a harsh punishment
from rheumatology and sunbathing. And why do positive antibody
tests correlate so well (both positively and negatively) with
viral culture tests (which measure a protein) or with direct
PCR (which measures DNA)."  

Answer: 
I presume Harris means "have a 50% chance of dying of AIDS not
immuno-deficiency". Or does he not know that they are not
synonymous, given some of his silly pat answers, I think he's
not sure? Only 39% of AIDS cases have anything to do with
immunodeficiency. It appears to be all the same to Harris. HIV
kills off T4 cells, therefore 10% of people get Kaposi's
Sarcoma, 6% develop dementia, 3% develop lymphomas and 19%
waste away.   

Or is this the point at which the "fiendishly clever" effect
of HIV comes in, whereby it causes these totally disparate
diseases "indirectly", by molecular mimicry, by apoptosis, by
autoimmunity, by protein toxicity? If Harris knew anything
he'd know that he knew nothing: immunology is essentially
still in the Dark Ages, scarcely more advanced than mechanics
was without Newton.  

By the way, is it another slip up Harris saying "have a 50%
chance of dying"? Is this now official policy - only half the
HIV positives develop AIDS? Since when, and why, or is it
really 90% as he states further down? Or don't all people with
AIDS ultimately die?  

Harris asks: 
"if there's no virus to explain all this, how does Lanka
explain it?  Remember, one must to explain not only why people
who test positive for "HIV" antibodies almost always test
positive HIV by for culture and PCR (which don't test for
antibodies), but also why people who test negative for
antibodies test *negative* by culture and PCR (see last set of
4 papers quoted)".  

Answer: 
Thank you, Dr Harris, but I do not need lessons on what
constitutes a proof in science. That you suddenly let on that
you know, too, makes me wonder why you have been so complacent
in all your "proofs" up to now.  

I suppose I do have to spell it out, superfluous as it seems.
It is not disputed that "HIV positives" are in some way at
risk. The question is how and of what.  

I strongly urge readers to study carefully the papers cited by
him to understand why, in HIV negatives, PCR is also
apparently negative. It is quite simply because they never
compare like with like, and play a dirty trick on top of it
all. The first HIV PCR studies gave no concordance at all
between antibody and PCR tests. Nowadays, this is glossed
over, and in those cases where this can't be done, it is
claimed that HIV is present only in the mutated, defective or
non-integrated form. In summer 1993 (see my original paper)
they invented the concept of "molecular mimicry" to explain
the inexplicable: it says that the virus has mutated so much
that in effect it has mutated itself out of existence.  

Harris's claim that "HIV is the only variable which
independently correlates with AIDS risk in all AIDS groups.
None other has been found."  

Answer: 
The first howler is for him to assume that AIDS is the same
disease in all groups. It isn't! How many IV-drug addicts have
Kaposi's sarcoma? Which gay man has invasive cervical  cancer?
Is Harris not aware of the 1994 CDC announcement that there
cannot have been any HIV in Factor 8 given to haemophiliacs,
since drying of blood products reduces the risk of infection
to "essentially zero". But enough of such crass question
begging answers.  

I am aware of Harris's dismissal of the alternative drug
intoxication theory. I assume he is relying on the Winkelstein
et al. paper, and no doubt assumes that is the end of the
matter. I can only rejoin that if he is so naive as to rely in
any way on the accuracy of self-reported drug use - just as an
aside, who the hell knows what people really take in when
shooting up, swallowing or sniffing adulterated illegal drugs
prepared in back street labs? Has he never been in an organic
chemistry lab and noted the nasty reagents that are used and
the residues and side reactions, if so he would be less
cocksure.  

The other - oh, so hard to quantify, so let's forget all about
it - factor is the effect of a psychological death sentence of
a positive diagnosis. As a virologist I cannot either, but as
a human being I know it to be extant, and I cannot just forget
about it as Harris seems to with such insouciance.  

Harris: 
"there is no evidence that these drugs (AZT and its analogues)
produce deficits in the cell-mediated immune system which are
important clinically.  There is no evidence that they produce
AIDS (as Lanka may be trying to suggest here) and a great deal
of evidence they don't (the Concorde trials)."  

Answer: 
If Harris had any understanding of chemistry and were
altogether less intellectually dishonest, he would know that
AZT was designed to kill cells indiscriminately. He would take
the trouble to find out how it does so. He might also have
read the book by Nussbaum "Good Intentions" which chronicles
in great detail the shenanigans, whereby AZT was resurrected
as an "anti-viral" when previously it was cytotoxic. He would
also then realise that misguided gay rights agitators were
responsible for this horrendous state of affairs, for which
they and a whole lot of completely innocent people are now
paying the price. He would then realise that AZT cannot by
waving a magic wand (serendipitously?) help AIDS patients
after all, say, the way a natural product like aspirin, jojoba
and primrose oils, just might. If he, further, had any grasp
of pharmacology, he would know that different people manifest
different degrees of drug absorption and drug metabolism. And
just a little thought on his part would tell him that if you
reduce the dose of even a toxic drug to a low level, no
harmful effects might be manifested. He might also realise
that people don't always tell the truth, and flush nasty
things down the toilet.   

Dr Harris is pretending that the immune system is properly
understood. I hazard a guess that at most 1% of what it really
comprises is known, hardly a proper basis for dogmatism. Least
understood is the significance, if any, of T-cell counting.
Harris would get the most up-to-date critical review of
current knowledge on this troubled subject by reading Eleni
Papadopulos-Eleopulos et al. in Genetica, April 1995. And when
he has done that he would benefit by swatting up on the whole
murky topic of antibody testing and PCR in Bio/Technology,
June 1993, by the same authors. He will become a wiser man.  

I know someone who has for several years had only three T4
cells, which he named after his dead friends. He himself is
well. Dr Felix Konotey-Ahulu of the famous Cromwell Hospital,
London, has described a tribe in Ghana whose average T-cell
count is only 100!. Also, why can an individual have twice as
many T-cells in the morning as in the evening? Is this also
"just baloney". Certainly not, it is all well documented.
These arguments are all just conjecture, and only tangential
to the question whether HIV exists or not and how it was
"manufactured"; dealing with them thoroughly would open up a
whole new can of worms, beyond the scope of this response.  

Harris denies that up till recently, being HIV positive did
not constitute a definitive prognosis of death. Since when is
it "official" that 10% of positives will be alive after 15
years? I thought you said it was 50% (earlier on, remember?),
or is that to be understood as meaning 40% die in years 10 to
15? In German, there is a saying "Luegen haben kurze Beine"
(lies have short legs, ie. they don't get you very far). Stop
making policy on the hoof, it won't work. Long-term survivors
have only been officially recognised for the past 2 years, now
you claim they are recognised to constitute 10-50%.   

Harris wobbles uncertainly around what AIDS diseases are.
Destruction of the immune system, eh? Dementia, cachexia,
lymphomas and Kaposi's sarcoma. Remember, "Luegen haben kurze
Beine."  

Despite the flawed nature of Dr Harris's response, I would
nonetheless congratulate him on a creditable effort. It
surpasses by far anything that I have ever come across before,
and contrasts sharply with the lamentable position of most
AIDS scientists who are satisfied with the statement: "the
evidence that HIV causes AIDS is overwhelming, though we still
don't know precisely how."  

The correct position is that evidence is there none, and
absolutely nothing is known about how it is supposed to do so. 


ADDENDUM.  
In his impressive SKEPTIC article, in which he satisfies
himself that there are no causes of AIDS other than HIV, he
nonetheless blows the whole gaffe by reaching the following
two conclusions:  

1. That AIDS will not spread beyond its present (tiny) risk
groups. 
2. That AZT has no useful function.  

He seems not to have realised that he has thereby taken the
ground from under the whole AIDS construct, for, were it not
"official" that AIDS can afflict anyone, the enormous public
funding for AIDS research ($96 annually per heart patient vs.
$36,000 per AIDS patient) would not exist; and equally, if the
vast profits accruing to Wellcome through AZT fell by the
wayside, the whole edifice of direct and indirect funding of
HIV research would grind to a halt. As Kary Mullis observed a
while ago "who wouldn't be infinitely fascinated by how HIV
causes AIDS if there is a $2000 million price tag attached to
the question every year". As an assiduous student of
epidemiology Harris might ask himself, why has HIV not spread,
as according Farr's Law it should have done?  

                        #     #     #






More information about the Virology mailing list

Send comments to us at biosci-help [At] net.bio.net