Official Satellite Meeting
Presentation by
Eleni Papadopulos et al.

Department of Medical Physics, Royal Perth Hospital, Perth, Western Australia
Dia 1


Geneva, June 28th 1998

The only way to prove the existence of a virus is to isolate its particles. It is only by doing this that we obtain pure particles to inspect, and analyse, and to introduce into fresh cell cultures to prove particles make more of the same. After all, no matter how viral-like they may look, this is what particles must show us before they ever earn the title, virus.

Have HIV experts gone to all this trouble? No. The only reason we have HIV is antibodies. A few antibodies amongst the plethora in AIDS patients that react with a few proteins present in the lymphocyte cultures of AIDS patients. When it is all said and done, it’s not just that antibodies are used to prove some individuals are infected with HIV. For the HIV protagonists, antibodies are the proof that they have isolated HIV.

Shortly, Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos will guide us through a close look at this proposition. As she does take special note of the history of the discovery and demise of the world’s first human, leukaemia retrovirus, HL23V. As in the case of HIV, Gallo and his colleagues claimed that antibodies elevated certain culture proteins to the status of a virus. Their reasoning was then and still remains a scientific impossibility. When it was discovered that such antibodies were induced by a wide variety of stimuli that had nothing to do with viruses, and they occurred in far more healthy people than could have ever had the virus to cause leukaemia, HL23V disappeared from the annals of science. This is why most of you, and most HIV experts, have never heard of it. Yet in the AIDS era we have the same method used to prove the existence of HIV, and a large number of instances of HIV antibodies where there is no HIV. But we still believe in HIV.

The message for us tonight is plain and simple. HIV might exist but there is no proof that it does exist. As you listen to what is still the best evidence for HIV, imagine it is 1983, you are the consummate, disinterested scientist, living in Paris, working at the Pasteur Institute and charged with the task of discovery. Try to decide, each one of you, what you discovered. Was it a retrovirus HIV or have you let down your guard and allowed the immune system to trick you once again with antibodies which mean something entirely different but which you have mistakenly, once again called a retrovirus and HIV?