Twenty years ago, Peter Duesberg had a reputation as one of the world’s most respected virologists. In 1969, when he was just 33, he demonstrated that the flu virus has a segmented genome, which explains its unique ability to change. One year later he isolated the first cancer gene. When reading his academic biography, one encounters the word “first” quite a number of times. But Duesberg’s primary subject was retroviruses; he is arguably the scientist who discovered their structure. He received Investigator Grants from the National Institute of Health for seven years in a row. In 1986, he became a member of the National Academy of Sciences and was considered a probable candidate for the Noble Prize. Next year, his career crashed. In 1987, Duesberg published an article in which he claimed that the HIV retrovirus doesn’t – and cannot possibly – cause AIDS.
Colleagues branded his views not only wrong but dangerous. Scientific magazines stopped publishing his articles and most harmfully, the financing of his research was cancelled. The scientific community all but set up a boycott of the reckless scientist. If Duesberg had admitted his mistake, everything would have been back to normal. But he always had a reputation as an uncompromising scientist. 18 years later, Duesberg still argues that HIV is a harmless passenger virus, while AIDS is caused by completely different factors. He explained his views in the following interview for ‘The Moscow News’.
Q. Can you explain your point of view that HIV does not cause AIDS?
The distinctions of an infectious epidemic are:
1) Random spread in a population; 2) Exponential increase over weeks or months followed by exponential decline over same period due to anti-microbial/viral immunity or death of susceptible individuals; 3) Latent periods from contact/infection to disease of days to weeks corresponding to generation time of virus/microbe; 4) Virus/microbe is very active and abundant during course of disease; 5) Virus- or micro-specific disease.
1) AIDS in the US and Europe is more than 80% male, of which 1/3 are intravenous drug users and 2/3 are male homosexuals using psychoactive/aphrodisiac and anti-HIV drugs – unlike any microbial epidemic in history. 2) The AIDS epidemic in the US and Europe has increased slowly during the decade from the early 1980-s to the early 1990-s and has since declined slowly – unlike any new microbial epidemic in history. But very much like chemical epidemics such as lung cancer from smoking or tuberculosis from cocaine. 3) Since the ‘AIDS virus’ replicates in 24 hours, just like other human virus – the latent period for HIV-caused AIDS should be the same as that of other viruses, like flu or measles, namely days to weeks. But it is 5-10 years – just about equal to the ‘latent periods’ for lung cancer from smoking or liver cirrhosis from drinking. 4) HIV is undetectable in AIDS patients. See Gallo (US) and Weiss (UK) scandals of misappropriating Montagnier’s virus, because they could not find it in hundreds of AIDS patients! Only anti-bodies against HIV are detectable in patients – classical certificate of vaccination! 5) There is no HIV-specific disease. More than 26 AIDS-defining diseases are simply old diseases under new names, e.g. tuberculosis, dementia, diarrhea, weight loss, yeast infection, pneumocystis, etc.
Q. How did you come to your conclusions about HIV/AIDS?
1) HIV is claimed to cause AIDS by killing T-cells. But, at the same time mass production of HIV in immortal T-cell lines was patented in 1984 as source of HIV proteins for ‘AIDS tests’ by Gallo/NIH, Weiss/Burroughs, Wellcome (UK), and Montagnier (Pasteur). These infected cell lines are still producing HIV 21 years later! Thus HIV does not kill cells, just like all other retroviruses.
2) HIV is latent and neutralized by antibody, when it is said to cause fatal AIDS. I have studied virus for 25 years, and I don’t know one example of a fatal disease caused by a virus that is neutralized by antibodies and only detectable indirectly via antibodies.
Once I realized that HIV-AIDS hypothesis was paradoxical, because viruses are not pathogenic if they are latent and neutralized by antibodies, and retroviruses don’t kill cells (the reason why they are considered cancer viruses), it was clear that something was wrong with the HIV-AIDS hypothesis. But, there are no paradoxes in nature, only flawed hypotheses.
Q. Why do most of modern scientists think that HIV causes AIDS?
This is a non-scientific, perhaps political question and I have no ‘scientific’ answer. But based on my anthropological experiences, to ‘think’ that HIV causes AIDS is politically correct, socially attractive, and very fundable if you are a ‘modern scientist’ in need of a grant and a publication, and is beneficial for a merit increase, and for an award and for a company. None of these benefits are available to ‘non-conformists’ – even ‘in the freest of all countries’(US). On the contrary, non-conformists are excommunicated at all social and scientific levels available in ‘free’ countries.
Q. If HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, what does?
Based on the American/English AIDS establishment from before 1984, when HIV was discovered, AIDS was a ‘lifestyle’ disease (a euphemism for addiction to recreational drug). So logic led me more and more to the chemical-AIDS hypothesis, which proved to be a consistent theory to this date. Once I became suspicious, all I had to do was to look up the literature on the pathogenic effects of long term drug use, to see the chemical AIDS theory. More recently I had to include into the chemical AIDS hypothesis the DNA chain-terminators like AZT and protease inhibitors, prescribed to HIV-antibody-positives as anti-HIV drugs, for a complete case for chemical AIDS and against viral AIDS.
Q. Why is AZT dangerous? As far as I know, it’s used to cure cancer?
All chemotherapy is ‘dangerous’, ideally less dangerous than cancer – but certainly always less dangerous than a latent retrovirus that cannot kill cells. The principle of chemotherapy is to kill growing cancer cells chemically. However, since no chemical can distinguish between normal and cancer ells, billions of normal cells are killed together with cancer cells. The strategy is to kill the cancer before you kill the cancer before you kill the patient! This is the best we can do against cancer now. But it would be a disaster if we were to use this inevitably toxic treatment against a virus that in all likelihood does not cause AIDS.
Q. CDC says that there is a very strong statistical correlation between HIV and AIDS. Can you comment on that?
Even a 100% correlation is no proof. According to Koch’s postulates, the correlation must be 100% with the microbe – NOT antibody against it; the virus/microbe must be isolated from potential competitor microbes; and the pure virus must cause the disease.
Over 150 chimpanzees have been infected over the last 22 years, but not one has developed AIDS. And from over 40 million HIV-positives, the World Health Organization has not registered more than 2 million AIDS patients in 20 years. This is less than the normal mortality of 20 million people in 20 years. However, there are plenty of noncorrelations. In one study published in 1993 I listed 4,621 HIV-free AIDS cases described in the literature by the HIV-AIDS establishment at that time.
Q. But CDC claims that Koch’s postulates have been fulfilled by HIV. What do they mean, and how can you comment on that?
They mean that infection with HIV is sufficient to cause AIDS. However, according to the peer-reviewed literature, not one American doctor has ever contracted AIDS from more than 929000 American AIDS patients in 21 years, although several got infected by HIV. Likewise, no American scientist ever developed AIDS from studying and mass producing HIV. And according to the World Health Organization, 40 million people on this planet are HIV-positive, but have no AIDS! So HIV can not be sufficient to cause AIDS.
Q. Can you comment? Your opponents argue that Koch’s postulates don’t have to be fulfilled by HIV because they were invented before the discovery of retroviruses.
Algebra was invented before computers were made. Does this mean that computers don’t have to follow the laws of algebra?
Q. What level of financing does your research require?
My research budgets prior to AIDS run between 4,250,000 and 4,500,000 per year in current $ equivalents. Now I am studying the role of aneuploidy in cancer with support from private foundations for about $100,000 per year.
Q. How long could it take for the scientific establishment to understand their mistake about HIV (if they are wrong)?
It took the highly established and affluent catholic church 400 years to ‘understand’ Galileo. Since the NIH/CDC bio-establishment is the church of the 20/21 century and just as affluent as Rome it may take up to 400 years too – at least as long as everything that confirms the HIV/AIDS hypothesis gets funded and polished in the professional and public press and all alternative interpretations are censored in the ‘freest of all countries.’
Q. Your opponents insist that your statements are irresponsible and thousands of people can die if they believe you. Doesn’t it bother you?
For a scientist, scientific truth is the only ‘responsibility’ that matters. The rest is for politicians and philosophers. Fortunately, I am not scientifically responsible for prescribing DNA chain-terminators – developed exclusively to kill human cells for cancer chemotherapy over 40 years ago – to 450,000 HIV-positives in the name of a hypothesis that has not been proved in 21 years.