HIV NOT causing AIDS

mdoherty mdoherty at atlas.niaid.nih.gov
Thu Feb 19 12:13:13 EST 1998

In article <34EBDAAE.CA6C9BEA at inetconn.net>, Robert Sedaker
<rsedaker at inetconn.net> wrote:

> I have been reading with great interest Dr Duesberg's book and would
> welcome rebuttles from those who do not share his views.

Well,this is an old tired thread, but I'll give it one more try...

> particular,  I would like to know how such people would respond to
> Duesberg's claim that HIV doesn't meet Koch's Postulates?

Simple answer - HIV *does* meet Koch's postulates.

Longer answer - Duesberg made this claim early in the AIDs epidemic, and it
caught the notice of a lot of immunologists - including myself.  However,
10 years or so on, we now have ample evidence that humans infected with HIV
- without other co-incident risk factors - can go on to develop AIDS, and
virus of the same lineage can be isolated from those patients - and are
infectious to human cells.  Infection of human cells in vitro with isolates
of HIV are commonplace in labs today (I do it myself on a regular basis). 
Moreover the linkage between exposure/infection/progression to AIDS is now
supported by overwhelming eveidence.  Finally, treatments specifically
targeted to retroviruses and HIV, such as nucleoside analogues and protease
inhibitors have been shown to decrease virus levels and restore patients to

Duesberg's claims in this regard, are quite simply, so much rubbish.

> Also,  Why is
> so little of the Antigen present when the T-cell count is on the wane?
> Why isn't the Antibody to HIV bound hin higher concentrations in such
> incidences?

Because HIV doesn't release great gobs of protein into the serum the way
that HBV does - a trait it shares with many other viruses.  Duesberg is
hung up on antibody responses despite mountains of eveidence that antibody
has little relevance to cellular immunity - which we think may be the main
route to controlling infection.  It's like the last 8 or 9 years of
immunology have passed unseen by him.

  What are the latest thoughts on seronegative AIDS patients
> and seropositive People who never develope HIV?

This has been an interesting an exciting area in the recent past. 
Seropositive people without AIDS fall into two camps - those who will go on
to develop the disease (in other words infected but asymptomatic) and those
who do not (called long term non-progressors).  A recent flurry of papers
revealed the identity of a gene which can influence this as people with it
express a mutant receptor which makes it harder for the virus to infect
cells - they tend to be over-represented in the long term non-progressor
group.  This suggests that there may be other variants that affect the rate
at which the virus spreads.  Finally there is a potentially more
interesting group - those who have clearly been exposed multiple times by
are still seronegative - although many of them have cellular responses that
suggest they have been infected.  These people are thought to be immune,
and are the focus of intense research interest.

As for AIDS patients without HIV, this is a bit of misnomer.  There are
immunodeficient patients that don't have AIDS - but nobody has suggested
that every immunodeficiency is due to AIDS - many of them are due to
identified genetic defects.  There are no AIDS patients without HIV (by
definition, since HIV is part of the AIDS diagnosis)

> Finally, why have the
> epidemiological numbers not changed in the patient populations as
> expected (ie why no "explosion" of heterosexual exposure patients as was
> predicted-- which has been true of other bona-fide "epidemics" --
> especially in STDs)

I'd suggest a little reading here - it doesn't have to be scientific
journals, either - just a relatively recent issue of some news magazine
answering with AIDS trends would have answered your question.  The AIDS
epidemic in homosexual men hit its peak a few years ago - and has since
been eclipsed by the rate of increase in the heterosexual population, even
in the US.  Worldwide, AIDS is overwhelmingly a heterosexual infection -
and it looks fair set to become one of the leading killers in Asia and
Africa over the next generation.

Duesberg is a fluent writer, and was once a scientist of some note.
Unfortunately, those days are long past - these days he's merely a flack
for an idea long since discredited.  he refuses to give it up since he has
shredded his own career.  If he stopped writing articles and giving
interviews, what would he do with himself?

Cheers, Mark

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