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Montagnier wins Nobel, Stockholm leaves Gallo in the cold

Prize goes to French researchers for HIV discovery, ignoring Gallo’s part in opening Fedex packages from Paris

Gallo may object that he and Duesberg deserve prize instead, having proved to world in 1984 and 1986 that HIV is not responsible for AIDS

John Crewdson expected to win belated Pulitzer, but HIV dissenters otherwise confounded

francoise-barre-sinoussi.jpgThe Nobel prize in medicine was awarded today to Luc Montagnier (76) and a colleague – the real discoverer – Francoise Barré-Sinoussi (61) (Click pic to enlarge) for discovering HIV, “the virus that causes AIDS” according to conventional wisdom among scientists and echoed tonight by PBS and the New York Times, not to mention virtually every publication and television station in the world.

The $800,000 prize money (10 million kronor) is to be shared with Harald zur Hausen (71) of the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg, the discoverer of the Human Papilloma Virus’ not entirely convincing association in some forms with cervical cancer, though the link is more impressive than the causal association of HIV with AIDS, which has been convincingly exploded in the scientific literature and about thirty books since 1986.

The endorsement of HIV as the cause of AIDS by the scientific elders of Stockholm, however, will probably defeat the efforts of a few thousand people in science, medicine and other professions who think otherwise, having studied the papers of Dr. Peter Duesberg of Berkeley, who has reviewed the case since 1986 in peer reviewed papers in leading scientiific journals and in an excellent book, Inventing the AIDS Virus.

Gallo undoubtedly seriously upset

montagniergallo.jpgIn their unhappiness with this final insult to good science in AIDS this diverse band of informed but ignored heretics will be joined by Dr Robert Gallo, whose tussle with Montagnier over who had discovered HIV in 1984 (before it was ever named self-servingly the Human Immunodefiency Virus) became an international fight between the US and French governments, first declared a tie and then when Gallo’s lab activities were analyzed in an NIH investigation, handed to the French.

Nobel medicine prize reopens old AIDS wounds

WASHINGTON, Oct 6 (Reuters) – The decision on Monday to award the Nobel Prize for Medicine to Luc Montagnier and Francoise Barre-Sinoussi for their discovery of the AIDS virus was a snub to U.S. virologist Dr. Robert Gallo, and reopened a bitter and painful dispute over the research.

From the beginning, Gallo and Montagnier were rivals who raced to discover the cause of a mysterious illness that was killing gay men and injecting drug users in the 1980s.

In the end, the Nobel committee had the final say on who deserved the most credit for the work.

“There was no doubt as to who made the fundamental discoveries,” Nobel Assembly member Maria Masucci told Reuters.

Montagnier and Barre-Sinoussi were more generous, both giving Gallo credit.

“It is a conflict to be forgotten. It is also true that American teams were important in the discovery of the virus, and that should be recognized,” Barre-Sinoussi said in a telephone interview with RTL radio.

Gallo was equally polite.

“I am pleased my long-time friend and colleague Dr. Luc Montagnier, as well as his colleague Francoise Barre-Sinoussi, have received this honor,” he said in a statement. “I was gratified to read Dr. Montagnier’s kind statement this morning expressing that I was equally deserving.”

But National Cancer Institute director Dr. John Niederhuber noted that Gallo and Montagnier had shared credit for years. (cont. in Tab)
PLEASED BUT DISAPPOINTED

“While we are pleased that two scientists who contributed so much to AIDS research were recognized today, I am extremely disappointed that the NCI and all of the resources it brought to bear on the discovery of the AIDS virus — along with the technology to make blood banking safe and the drugs that have made AIDS a chronic disease — weren’t, in some fashion, recognized,” Niederhuber said in a statement.

“Additionally, Dr. Gallo discovered the blood test for AIDS.”

In the early 1980s, researchers around the world were trying to discover what was causing the mysterious and fatal disease that came to be known as acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or AIDS.

Gallo and Montagnier both homed in a possible retrovirus and exchanged samples.

Gallo, then at the National Cancer Institute, announced in April 1984 that he had discovered the virus that causes AIDS. He said the virus was different from one identified by the French researchers.

It turned out that Gallo was working with a sample contaminated in Montagnier’s lab and it took years for the U.S. National Institutes of Health and France’s Institut Pasteur to agree to split the credit and the royalties.

“I think Bob made a very, very important contribution to the field of HIV by making the strongest evidence for … the virus, which was first identified by Montagnier, as the causative agent of HIV,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a telephone interview.

“It is unfortunate that the committee cannot give the award to more than three people,” Fauci added. “If they could, then I am sure Bob would have been very, very deserving.”

The third winner of the 2008 medicine prize was Dr. Harald zur Hausen of the University of Duesseldorf for his discovery that the human papillomavirus, or HPV, causes cervical cancer. (Editing by Will Dunham)
© Reuters 2008

Dr Gallo however has famously lived off this claim for the last two and a half decades, and is bound to be extremely indignant and disappointed by the Nobel Committee’s decision finally to take sides and endorse the account of the French, which was backed by the extraordinary investigative journalism of John Crewdson of the Chicago Tribune (see Science Fictions), which explains Gallo’s achievement as “discovering the virus in the mail”, as Peter Duesberg and other wits have put it.

Gallo’s moral obligation to speak up

Is it entirely impossible that Gallo might be so upset at his life long rival being awarded the top prize, and it being withheld from him, that he might finally come clean and in a fit of pique fess up to the plain fact that he was the first scientist ijn the world to demonstrate that HIV certainly did not cause AIDS, since his 1984 paper found it present in only a third of the blood samples from AIDS patients his lab examined?

We think and hope not. We hope that at long last Robert Gallo, for whatever reason, even if it has to be a fit of envious fury, will now finally come forward and state what everyone in the higher levels of HIV/AIDS science have known consciously or unconsciously for a very long time, that HIV has no causal role in AIDS whatsoever.

peterduesberg.jpgIn fact, since he has priority over Peter Duesberg (pic) for writing a paper which demonstrated this conclusion, he can properly suggest that the prize for Montagnier, now director of the World Foundation for Aids Research and Prevention in Paris, be cancelled and both Gallo and Duesberg mount the stage at the award ceremony in Stockholm this winter.

In fact it would not be inappropriate for the two to receive a double Nobel at that time, sharing the prize for Medicine and the prize for Peace, since Gallo would deserve the latter with Duesberg for being first trying to save the world from the HIV/AIDS meme which has so tragically spread from North America to Africa and other less informed continents around the world, who depend on the leadership of American scientists for their scientific and medical beliefs.

Gallo’s moral obligation to speak up is large, since there are many lives at stake, to borrow a phrase from the millions who walk and work on behalf of an AIDS cure, whose efforts would be better directed at the direct causes of the various ailments now counted under the “AIDS umbrella.

But what if he doesn’t?

davidbaltimore.jpgIn that unhappy event, we predict that the Nobel committee has set back the urgent correction of science in AIDS by another ten or twenty years. The already uphill battle of the critics of what they convincingly say is the absurd fairy tale of HIV will be even steeper, if not vertical.

Since the situation in HPV is deplorable in the same way, though relatively minor in its impact, involving the unncessary marketing of possibly deleterious vaccines to female minors, one wonders again on what or whom the Nobel prize committee relies on for its wisdom.

One point to bear in mind is that it tends to rely on letters from past winners of the prize, such as Dr David Baltimore (pic).

Naturally this introduces a certain log rolling bias, and for this and other reasons the Nobel prizes, Alas, are sometimes flawed in their choices, perhaps inevitably. Here is a Scientific American list of scientists who have lost out.

19 Responses to “Montagnier wins Nobel, Stockholm leaves Gallo in the cold”

  1. MartinDKessler Says:

    I believe (in a conspiritorial way) that Montagnier and Gallo may have informally agreed a long time ago that if a Nobel prize was to be awarded, Montagnier was to get it. This award is obviously vitiated by this announcement and combined with the one awarded to Egas Moniz for pre-frontal lobotomy – considered an embarrasing mistake by the Nobel Committee. But I don’t think so. For the alleged disease of Schizophrenia, which is now “treated” with a chemical lobotomy that is brain damaging as well (Chlorpromazine, Zyprexa, Thorazine, Stelazine, etc., so lobotomy is just a more primative methodolgy – there is no objective test for this alleged disease – people who think the wrong thoughts and then disavow them.

  2. Truthseeker Says:

    Your post is somewhat mysterious. Can you clarify what you mean exactly? Why would they informally agree that Montagnier was to get the rpize- why would Gallo agree to a global slap in the face after all he has done to fight it off? And what has it to do with pre-frontal lobotomy other than being a flawed award? I believe you mean that the Nobels are now going to held in disrepute, is that it?

    There is an excellent book revealing what goes on behind the scenes with the Nobels, which I shall find and quote. They could hardly bring themselves to give one to Einstein, certainly not for relativity.

    Prizes are generally misleading signposts to true quality and originality, it seems. Probably because they are awarded by committee, and thus have to seek the lowest common denominator.

  3. Celia I. Farber Says:

    I reprint here an email I sent to Valendar Turner this week:

    Have you examined the document Janine Roberts has unearthed via Crewdsen’s website, (www.sciencefictions.net) that shows what Popovic originally wrote about the Pasteur LAV culture, the Big Bang culture, that started it all?

    Are you aware of Gallo’s re-write, right over Popovic’s words? Gallo reverses Popovic’s conclusions, flat out, in his own handwriting.

    Popovic: “Despite intensive research efforts, the causative agent of AIDS has not yet been identified.”

    Gallo’s re-write: “That a retrovirus of the HTLV family might be an etiological agent of AIDS was suggested by the findings.”

    Are you aware of what Gonda [Head of Electron Microscopy Laboratory at NCI] stated on March 26, 1984 regarding Gallo’s four micrographs of “HTLV-III?”

    “I do not believe any of the particles photographed are HTLV I, II, or III…No other extracellular ‘virus-like’ particles particles were observed.”

    Is this not the smoking gun that would appear to prove Perth Group correct about the lack of proof of HIV’s existence?

  4. MartinDKessler Says:

    No mystery, it was a joke – you took it seriously. I believe that Gallo is intelligent enough to have known that Montagnier really didn’t come up with anything – Gallo was looking to improve his job security – Reagan was looking for a way quell the angry Gay activists looking for a cure for AIDS – a new contagious disease, invented from whole cloth was the answer as opposed to what it was: a toxic syndrome limited to specific risk groups.

    Egas Moniz came up with a “cure” pre-frontal lobotomy for a fake disease – schizophrenia – for which there is not a shred of objective evidence – Montagnier came up with a particle with no proof it had anything to do with the diseases that were taking place in the gay community.

  5. Truthseeker Says:

    I believe that Gallo is intelligent enough to have known that Montagnier really didn’t come up with anything.

    Nice thought. So my next post is vitiated, perhaps. The crooks are knowing crooks, if you are right. But yet… it is hard to imagine that Fauci for example truly knows he is wrong. Would he write such reams of technical rationalization in journals and textbooks of something he knew was wrong? Would he bother?

    I like to think good minds are clear, and hate to write turgid nonsense, even if highly paid for it.

  6. MartinDKessler Says:

    I like to think good minds are clear, and hate to write turgid nonsense, even if highly paid for it.
    Wishful thinking. I believe the top guys like Fauci, Gallo, etc have dug a hole and a tangled web of lies upon lies – they figure that because virtually all of the media that counts (Air and press) and the governments have bought into the paradigm, no one is really interested in recanting – it would cause too much upheaval. It’s a sorry state of affairs.

  7. Truthseeker Says:

    You seem to be under the impression that Fauci is a good scientist and knows when he is writing rubbish. What evidence do you have for this?

    Much more likely is that he is a mediocre mind of the kind that masters technicalities as a stock in trade but has no great analytical power. He probably doesn’t know he is tone deaf to the truth.

    Part of the problem is that Duesberg has corrected them endlessly but they never quite realize that he is right because they are not really capable of examining their own premise objectively, partly because of the huge cost of being wrong as you point out but also because they have the pride of the mediocre which won’t let them readily admit a mistake arising from dimwittedness in a field in which they are renowned officials and experts.

    I am talking more of the beginning of the HIV era, not later when the cost has grown geometrically larger and makes the admission impossible until everyone dies.

    If Gallo had been brighter he would have found it impossible to be so much of a rogue I believe, The whole trick would have been too transparent.

    Skulduggery goes along with bad thinking in science, I believe. You think you can get away with something cunning because you think it can be concealed.

  8. MartinDKessler Says:

    Well said, Truthseeker. I agree that Gallo and Fauci are mediocre scientists. But I think you (maybe purposely) underestimate their intelligence. These guys are smarter than your average bear and they were ingenious enough to fool a lot of people, apparently satisfying their audience that is the mainstream media and the general public with their mendacious but clever explanations and evasions. Honesty doesn’t have much to do with intelligence.

  9. Truthseeker Says:

    Well, you appear mean they are cunning, which is not the same thing exactly, is it? The question is whether they are conscious liars or not, and whether their lies are clever.

    Not sure that I agree that their lies are clever at all. To an intelligent informed critic eg Duesberg they are transparent nonsense, and that’s my point, among intelligent informed people no one would try to float such a whopper in the historical circumstances unless there was tacit agreement to proceed with a fairy tale–the tale of a supposed leukemia virus killing cells, one killing T cells without inhabiting them, and in a historical coincidence of unimaginable low probability popping up just at the juncture to save the day for Gallo and other stranded practitioners of a new field of hunting retroviral human disease, which was something never seen before, with the sudden appearance of the biggest killer in living memory causing most sensational symptoms among a subset of humanity with no conceivable genetic difference in disease vulnerability from the rest of us (the subset of gays in extreme nightclubs), etc etc etc.

    There is nothing clever to my mind about making up a cock and bull story which has 60 different inconsistencies with itself and with reality. All it involved is endless extrapolation of the initial premise – It’s the Virus Stupid! – which arose out of financial desperation and gave rise to endless Ptolemaic fitting of a square peg into a round hole. Nothing but the Virus will do as an explanation of the utterly familiar symptoms of drug- and malnutrition- induced immune breakdown, or one induced by poor nutrition and TB malaria and numerous tropical diseases in Africa.

    My point is that you have to be innately uncritical to believe this nonsense and whether the stupidity is brought on by mind bending clubmanship, financial need, or is simply genetic is the issue. In other words is it conscious or not? I would have said over a decade or two that the error might be genuine genetic stupidity, but after 24 years, even very dense people could not inhabit this bubble without realizing what was up, or at least that they have to turn their eyes away from the possibility and keep their heads down, which is equivalent to admitting the lie to themselves.

  10. MartinDKessler Says:

    We will have to wait a generation for a good number of people controlling the information and the minds of the gullible to die and for the funding to dry up.

  11. MartinDKessler Says:

    I was just listening to a podcast interview with Janine Roberts on David Crowe’s website Alberta Reappraising AIDS. Based on Roberts investigations, Robert Gallo did know that he didn’t have anything to show for a cause for AIDS (at least a contagious cause because he wasn’t interested in looking down any other pathways). What he did was commit fraud. He lied, and purposely changed statements to make it appear that what he knew were unproductive (at least to him) experimental results were in fact positive proof that HIV caused AIDS. Actually the original experiments Gallo performed were in fact very productive, they showed that AIDS in the population sample he tested were not sick because of a retrovirus. He himself had even admitted that HIV was extremely rare and knew it couldn’t be isolated. Based on what Janine Roberts said, medical science is one of the most corrupt enterprises going – we’re in serious trouble.

  12. Truthseeker Says:

    Very true, Martin. There is good and bad in medical science, but the flow of money into it has become so great in the last half century that as in any Gold Rush all the charlatans and the confidence tricksters have joined in too.

    However science may be peculiarly susceptible to their depredations because even more than in ordinary society the initial assumption is that everyone is seeking and telling the truth, or at least only discreetly holding it close like a royal flush until they win the pot of gold which is the Nobel prize ($1.4 million this year).

    People like Robert “HIV causes AIDS in everyone even though it was found in only a third of the samples I tested – wait, only Luc get’s the prize? Then let’s face it, I proved that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS even before my friend Peter Duesberg” Gallo know this and take advantage of it.

    There must be nothing that eats away at the onset of the spiritual peace and human reconciliation of old age than the knowledge that one’s entire career and reputation was built upon a lie and one that misled hundreds of thousands into pain, suffering and early death and ruined the happiness of as many families, not to mention even more ordinary folk taken in by this absurd fairy tale, which convinces no thoughtful person who troubles to contemplate its inconsistencies.

    We imagine that pricking of the conscience whether conscious or not is what causes Gallo’s face to look more and more like the aging portrait of Dorian Gray.

  13. Stefan R. Says:

    Have you already checked Prof. Bauer’s thoughts about the 2008 Nobel Prize:

    http://hivskeptic.wordpress.com/2008/10/16/nobel-prize-citation-for-%e2%80%9chiv%e2%80%9d-%e2%80%9cdiscovery%e2%80%9d-errors-and-deficiencies/

  14. Baby Pong Says:

    You didn’t need this to know that medical science is one of the most corrupt enterprises going, Martin. That’s been evident for centuries. The entire Disease segment of modern medicine is just corruption incarnate. Even if they can save you in the emergency room, and plastic surgeons can make people look better, and other parts of medicine do produce useful results, Disease, which is probably the biggest component, is pure corruption and false theories piled upon false theories, starting with vaccination, which is hundreds of years old.

  15. Baby Pong Says:

    A more interesting question than how could Gallo’s con job have convinced the media and government (they’re easy, they had their own reasons for wanting to find a contagious cause), is why did Science publish papers that were so clearly illogical? Who were the peer reviewers of Gallo’s four papers? Who was the editor?

    I wish we could learn their identities and expose them.

    I’m glad to see that Celia seems to have come over to the Perth position. Eleni et al have certainly convinced me that there’s no proof that Hiv exists. It would be great if Janine could talk to Gonad, um, I mean GONDA, and see how he feels about this matter today.

  16. Nick Naylor Says:

    TS, I like your elegant idea that the Nobel Prize should be given to Gallo and Duesberg for proving that culture-derived retroviruses are not capable of destroying T-cell based immunity, never mind KS or PCP. Gallo did indeed provide a falsifiable model that Duesberg demonstrated to be incorrect.

    Alas, there are also serious misunderstandings re Gonda based on incomplete examinations of the record

    So here are more twists and turns in this ever convoluted tale.

    In 1990 Science publishes a “news report” (1), “the untold story of HUT 78” where we find a September 6, 1985 letter from Popovic to “Chief, Laboratory of Tumor Cell Biology”:

    Excerpt from letter:

    “in response to your request concerning the origin of H9 cells and its infection with HTLV III, I can state the following: H9 cell population represents a single cell clone obtained by limiting dilutions from a continuously growing T-cell which we originally thought to be HUT 78 …(W)e cannot make a definitive conclusion whether the designated HT cells* are identical with the original HUT78 or not”.

    The article continues, “O’Brien has had a long and colorful history of characterizing cell lines, uncovering contaminations … and even busting frauds. Gallo had known O’Brien for 10 years, but never thought to turn to him for help with HUT78 – something O’Brien says he could easily have done using the technique he developed called allozyme genetic signature.

    “By 1988, it was a piece of cake for O’Brien: ‘We had the cell lines and we ran them and the results were unequivocal: the two cell lines [HUT78 and H9] were the same'”.(1)

    Moerover, Levy’s group DID specify the use of HUT78 to “isolate AIDS retrovirus (ARV)” and interestingly enough show an EM of a budding particle (Fig 2D) where the bar-shaped core “spans the width of the viral membrane”. (2)

    In terms of the “American team”, we shouldn’t ignore the “consolidation report” of endogenous RV experts Rabson and Martin who published “Molecular Organization of the AIDS Retrovirus” in March 1985 that included “Levy’s clone” as well as Montagnier’s and Gallo’s. “A major advance in the understanding of this disease has been the isolation of a novel retrovirus from AIDS and ARC patients.” It includes Figure 1 showing the canonical genes plus ORFs A and B with caption, “The gene sizes and arrangement are derived from the three published sequences of the AIDS RV (see text)” (3)

    And most importantly Gonda signed on to another Gallo et al HTLV III paper that shows an EM (Fig 1A) with a vast multitude of roughly same-size particles where the cores cannot be made out. Plus a close-up with the same membrane spanning core, Fig 1C.(4) This is the paper where Gallo distinguishes** HTLV III from “highly cell-associated HTLV I and II” with “HTLV III in contrast … efficiently transmitted by cell free virus making it feasible to study its distribution in body fluids.” Also making it feasible for Peter Duesberg to falsify, as he later did.

    At least we should have a realistic idea of how many papers have to be “withdrawn” … :o) …

    1. Ellis Rubenstein, Science V248 (22 June 1990), 1499

    2. Levy et al, Science V225 (22 August 1984), 840. This paper was submitted on May 31, 1984 and ends with a non-conclusion, “Although no conclusion can yet be made concerning their etiologic role in AIDS, their biological properties and prevalence in AIDS patients certainly suggest that these retroviruses (ARV, HTLVIII, LAV) could cause this disease.” The 1.16 band in Figure 1 is also referred to correctly as “kinetics of reverse transcriptase activity.”

    3. Rabson and Martin, Cell V40, March 1985, 477-480

    4. Groopman …Gonda … Gallo; Science V 226, (26 October 1984), 447.

    *from which H9 was derived

    **obligingly provides fasifiability

  17. Baby Pong Says:

    Nick, I’m a bit confused about this. Are you saying that Janine’s finding that Gonda had examined Gallo’s cultures and said, in effect, “I don’t see any virus there,” is not true?

  18. Nick Naylor Says:

    Nothing to be confused about Pong and it’s not what I’m saying. The whole record reveals that Gonda found acceptable (to him) EMs of HTLV III! Only it was later in October 1984 (but before the sequencing) in the HTLV III “series” of publications.

    Here’s what Gallo said on this “more than one paper issue” at Parenzee (excerpted):

    I was called from Europe to come back to the press conference (23 April 1984) that I didn’t know was going to be called because the Secretary of Health got hold of our papers that were in press in Science and in Lancet. The witness, he referred to it as if there is one paper at that time. There were five rapidly and about another half a dozen coming soon thereafter. They were published in May 1984, June and July ‘84 and throughout ’84.

    Q We have heard a lot in the defense witness’s evidence about the early Montagnier work. Your laboratory was also doing work at that time in relation to determining what was the cause of this illness; is that right?

    A Yes, that’s correct.

    Q And it was as a result of that work that the five papers that you have referred to in your statement were published.

    A Yes, and rapidly many more.

    Q You have read the criticisms on Montagnier’s first publication. Were you involved in that publication in any way.

    A Yes

    Q Are there some valid criticisms that can be made of that very first publication?

    A My closest colleagues said that I didn’t apply criteria to them that I would have for the US colleagues and my view was I was convinced enough, it was nullable, that it had a good chance of being important and that if they didn’t have the technology at the time to do things to perfection or as well as possible, they soon would and the paper merited this ability. So yes, you could make some critique. The main critique to be made is because of a technical difficulty of growing the virus in large quantities. We succeeded in growing HIV in large quantities by adapting it to permanently growing cell lines. That allows the virus to be produced in mass. They were growing the virus only with the Interleukin-2 protocols we sent them by taking the blood sample from a normal person and adding what they called, in this patient, the fluid containing the virus particles to a new source of blood cells. Well, blood cells don’t grow very long, so they can’t get very much virus. Not getting very much virus gives a lot of cellular debris relative to the amount of virus particles. As a consequence, they couldn’t get the viral envelope, what is referred to by the witness as ‘knobs’. So-called knobs or the viral envelope readily fall off the virus. If you don’t have a lot of virus, how can it be produced? You lose it. Of course, that’s what happened to them in ‘83. That didn’t happen to us in early ‘84 and it didn’t happen to them thereafter when they learnt how to properly grow the virus. It was a modest, technical problem. Yes, it is an imperfect paper but it was a beginning.

    Q It is where the seed was planted.

    A Well, you know, I don’t like my colleagues and myself taking third fill or second fill. We were planting the seed with ideas in technology and it is the first publication of the right virus, that is a fact, and when we published we published a lot of viruses, 48, not one; 48 from 48 different patients. Six of them we were able to grow permanently continuous culture to mass produce. This gets to an important issue for the judge, I believe. One of the other things I read by the witness was a misunderstanding, or if not a misunderstanding a misrepresentation – I hope it is the former – and that is this business of purification. You have to purify. The witness shows a complete lack of understanding because a sucrose gradient barely purifies.

    END TRANSCRIPT EXCERPT

    Now, what exactly is he referring to with that last confusing statement? He means isopycnic or buoyant density here. At David Crowe’s website, E deHarven gives him the benefit of the doubt with: “He keeps stressing that mass production of HIV makes purification unnecessary. Very strange! They probably had developed, in Gallo’s lab, very large size cell culture systems, giving them large samples of cell culture supernatant. But even if they had gallons of supernatant, this still had to go through sucrose gradients (probably ‘continuous flow’) centrifugation to separate the virus! Larger culture systems do not make the basic approach to virus isolation any different!” (http://garlan.rethinkingaids.info/Cases/Parenzee/Gallo.html)

    What Professor DeHarven is talking about, “continuous flow centrifugation”, can be found in this reference: Toplin, Tumor Virus Purification Using Zonal Rotors; Spectra 1973: 225. It’s linked at the Perth Group’s website in their Nobel article.

    Here are the relevant excerpts which distinguish another methodology of sucrose gradients – what deHarven is calling “continuous flow”, except there’s nothing about this in that infamous May 1984 Science paper. The point is to see there’s an ambiguity in this term “sucrose gradient” because it refers to more than one fractionation technique.

    The Toplin paper is about isolation or concentration of particles using zonal rotors, a “sedimentation rates” methodology, what Toplin calls, “a double density gradient procedure utilizing sucrose gradients” with “zonal rotors” that involve “gradient profiles” measured by “UV absorbance” bands at wavelength “254 nm”. This is a different set of procedures than buoyant density or isopycnic banding, here referrred to via footnote, where RT activity (his reference 3) is the verification component of the “two zonal centrifugations” that result in “an approximately 4000-fold increase in virus purity, (2×10^11 particles/ml)”.

    Reference 3 (Edward M. Scolnick, Stuart A. Aaronson, and George J. Todaro; DNA Synthesis by RNA-Containing Tumor Viruses Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Vol. 67, No. 2, pp. 1034-1041, October 1970) authors are very American scientists of the National Cancer Institute as well. They START with viruses “purified twice on density gradients”. Their Fig 3 shows the familiar banding at 1.16 g/ml. No such figure is in the Toplin paper.

    Francoise et al used “rate zonal sedimentation” (referencing Toplin) to isolate “viral particles” with EMs published that “do not show any apparent differences”. RT “activity was found in the region of the gradient where viral particles were found”. They also show “absorbancy profile of a viral preparation” – wavelength illegible – measurements of their “collected fractions”. Their figure 4 is another absorbancy profile and the caption is clear, “viral particles isolated by RATE SEDIMENTATION in sucrose gradients and subjected to a second density gradient centrifugation under conditions APPROACHING density equilibrium of the particles.” In other words, they cleverly “tweaked” the second step of Toplin’s “double density gradient procedure”. And there’s no isopycnic buoyant density scale in this fig 4, only an arrow pointing to the top of the peak fraction as measured by UV absorbance: p – 1.14-1.15. (Spectra 1973; 4: 237-243)

    Sorry as usual too much techno blah blah but IMO necessary …

  19. Nick Naylor Says:

    Correction: Professor DeHarven is right about “continuous flow” centrifugation process in Gallo’s lab which is descibed fully in the first HTLV paper:

    For these experiments, large volumes (20 liters) of cell suspensions were centrifuged at 1000 X g for 10 min. The supernatant was kept on ice and the virus particles were subsequently concentrated on a RNase-free sucrose gradient (22-65%) by zonal centrifugation on a model K ultracentrifuge (25). Fractions (100 ml) were collected; those with buoyant densities of 1.19-1.12 g/ml were pooled, diluted 1:1 with 10 mM Tris-HCl, pH 7.4/0.1M NaCl/1 mM EDTA (TNE buffer), and centrifuged in a type 19 rotor at 18,000 rpm for 2 hr. The pelleted material was resuspended in TNE buffer, assayed for DNA polymerase activity, and examined by negative-stain electron microscopy. The resuspended particles were then pelleted through 30% glycerol in TNE buffer onto a 100% glycerol cushion by centrifugation in a SW 41 rotor at 30,000 rpm for 2 hr. This pelleted material was again resuspended in TNE buffer and applied to a 10-ml continuous sucrose gradient (22-65%). The gradient was collected, 10-ul samples from each fraction were assayed for DNA polymerase activity, and electron microscopy was performed on negatively stained samples as described. (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA
    Vol. 77, No. 12 pp. 7415-7419, December 1980)

    But there’s no indication in the May 1984 paper that assay was for “particulate RT activity” because as deHarven states:

    “He seems to completely forget that what was demonstrated, by detection of reverse transcription from RNA to DNA, was the RT enzyme activity, not the presence of the enzyme itself*. This is not enough, however, to demonstrate that the enzyme supposedly from retroviruses is clearly different from the enzyme one can demonstrate in all cells of the biological world!”

    *This can be demonstrated with Spiegelman’s “simultaneous detection test” which we will simply reference to give our weary readers a break: Kufe et al; PNAS, 70 (1973), 737

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