The man-made theory of AIDS is not based on conspiracy theory. The theory warrants a full scientific investigation - and the secret history of HIV and AIDS needs to come out of the closet.
Nobel laureate Kary Mullis, who discovered the revolutionary DNA technique called the polymerase chain reaction, has long been a supporter of Duesberg, but he has grown weary of the AIDS wars and the political attacks on contrarian scientists. “Look, there’s no sociological mystery here,” he told me. “It’s just people’s income and position being threatened by the things Peter Duesberg is saying. That’s why they’re so nasty. In the AIDS field, there is a widespread neurosis among scientists, but the frenzy with which people approach the HIV debate has slacked off, because there’s just so much slowly accumulating evidence against them. It’s really hard for them to deal with it. They made a really big mistake and they’re not ever going to fix it. They’re still poisoning people.”
Duesberg thinks that up to 75 percent of AIDS cases in the West can be attributed to drug toxicity. If toxic AIDS therapies were discontinued, he says, thousands of lives could be saved virtually overnight.
No one has been more persistent in calling attention to the failings of AIDS research than Peter Duesberg, a virologist and cancer specialist at the University of California at Berkeley. If Duesberg’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he has been quite effectively branded in the international media as the virologist who is wrong about HIV. His name entered the popular culture in the late 1980s pre-stamped with wrongness. You knew he was wrong before you knew what he had said in the first place.
In 1987, Duesberg published a paper in the journal Cancer Research entitled “Retroviruses as Carcinogens and Pathogens: Expectations and Reality.” He was, at the time, at the top of the field of retrovirology, having mapped the genetic structure of retroviruses and defined the first cancer gene in the 1970s. He was the youngest member, at age fifty, ever elected into the National Academy of Sciences. In this paper, which in the words of his scientific biographer, Harvey Bialy, “sealed his scientific fate for a dozen years,” Duesberg argued that retroviruses don’t cause cancer and concluded by detailing how and why the retrovirus HIV cannot cause AIDS.
As AIDS grew in the 1980s into a global, multibillion-dollar juggernaut of diagnostics, drugs, and activist organizations, whose sole target in the fight against AIDS was HIV, condemning Duesberg became part of the moral crusade. Prior to that 1987 paper, Duesberg was one of a handful of the most highly funded and prized scientists in the country. Subsequently, his NIH funding was terminated and he has received not one single federal research dollar since his pre-1987 Outstanding Investigator Grant ran out. Duesberg lost his lab facilities and had to move twice within a few years to smaller labs on the Berkeley campus, where he spent much of his time writing futile research grant proposals asking to test his hypothesis that AIDS is a chemical syndrome, caused by accumulated toxins from heavy drug use.
[Barry] Bloom goes on to invite Duesberg to prove that HIV is innocuous by means of a simple experiment. He writes that if Duesberg's "convictions are as deeply felt and as strong as stated in his polemics, and if he sees the stakes as high as he advertises in proving that HIV is unrelated to AIDS, it is surprising that he has not availed himself of the noble tradition of self-experimentation." Here is a startling challenge. Duesberg accuses me of using "the argument of fear." If there is nothing to fear from HIV, he can easily prove it. If Duesberg seriously believes that HIV is harmless, let him inject himself with a suspension of the virus.
Ad hominem attacks are the equivalent of literary violence in any non-scientific debate. Horton shares responsibility for using this technique with the "respected" Barry Bloom, "If Duesberg seriously believes that HIV is harmless, let him inject himself with a suspension of the virus." But calling into question the seriousness of my beliefs and willingness to do an experiment is not a scientific argument.
The practice of self-experimentation has an established place in medical research and to mention it is not to make an ad hominem attack. The best contemporary example relevant to the issue at hand is provided by the Australian researcher Barry Marshall. During the early 1980s it became apparent that a bacterium, later named Helicobacter pylori, was associated with inflammation of the stomach. The question posed was this: is H pylori a cause of gastritis or is its presence merely a reflection of another as yet ill-defined process? The analogy with HIV is precise. In April 1985, Marshall described how he ingested a preparation of the bacterium obtained from another individual: he "swallowed the growth from a flourishing three-day culture of the isolate." One week later Marshall developed symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and headache. Samples of his stomach wall were taken which showed areas of inflammation. By self-experimentation Marshall provided the most convincing evidence then available that H pylori could cause gastritis. His contribution to our understanding of peptic ulcer disease is now regarded as seminal.
2a. There’s some fictional writing on the shotgun approach that always stuck with me: Norman Spinrad’s “Journals of the Plague Years" and a character in William Gibson’s “Mona Lisa Overdrive” (IIRC). The HIV/AIDS positive people basically fucked anyone who was positive like them, and at the end of a very long string of chance and luck, the “cure” evolved in someone’s bloodstream due to exposure to every variant of the virus. Fiction, yes, and written during the 80s when we were as scared as we were ignorant (relative to where we are today), to be sure…But there’s something appealing about fucking for a cure…
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