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No. 71: Sep-Oct 1990

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Duesberg Revisited

P. Duesberg is a molecular biologist at the University of California, Berkeley. He contends that the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is not the cause of AIDS and is, instead, a harmless "passenger" in the bodies of AIDS victims. Naturally, this stance is controversial, and just as naturally we have had cause to mention Duesberg before.

Duesberg is back in the news again because his iconoclastic views were prominently featured in a TV documen tary entitled "The AIDS Catch" seen in Britain in June. The scientific community was furious, claiming that the documentary was one-sided and selective. Further, it was maintained that Duesberg's arguments have been completely refuted.

Briefly, Duesberg believes that AIDS is not an infectious disease because:

  1. Too few T-lymphocytes in the peripheral blood are infected to cause the disease;
  2. HIV carriers without symptoms exist; and
  3. HIV in pure form doesn't seem to induce Aids in humans or animals.

Rather, says Duesberg, AIDS is a collection of symptoms arising from such factors as the repeated use of intravenous drugs and malnutrition. Mainstream researchers think that Duesberg is wrong on (1); that (2) is irrevelant, since asymptomatic carriers of typhoid and cholera exist; and that (3) may be incorrect, since SIV (Simian Immunodeficiency Virus) does induce simian AIDS in monkeys. (Weiss, Robin A., and Jaffe, Harold W.; "Duesberg, HIV and AIDS," Nature, 345:659, 1990.) Also: Brown, Phyllida; "'Selective' TV Documentary Attacked by AIDS Researchers," New Scientist, p. 23, June 16, 1990.)

Comment. However self-assured the mainstreamers are, they must have flinched at a paper given by L. Montagnier, of the Pasteur Institute, at the recent AIDS conference in San Francisco: "Montagnier says research conducted in his lab suggests HIV initially exists peacefully within the CD4 T-lymphocytes, white blood cells that assist in immune defenses. But co-infection with a mycoplasma, he contends, may transform the slowly replicating HIV into a killer." (Fackelmann, K.A.; "Data and Dispute Mark AIDS Meeting," Science News, 137: 404, 1990.)

Reference. The many anomalies associated with HIV and AIDS are covered in BBH14, BBH22 in our catalog: Biological Anomalies: Humans II. For details, visit: here.

From Science Frontiers #71, SEP-OCT 1990. � 1990-2000 William R. Corliss