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Reply to Deadly Quackery author John Moore (Alex Russell, unpub. Op. Ed. NYTimes)

November 25th, 2007

An Open Letter to John Moore: New York Times
08/22/06 04:13 AM

To: New York Times
The Editor, Opinion,
The Op-Ed Page,
229 West 43rd Street,
New York, NY 10036

An Article for the Op-Ed Page: Opinion

Reply to John Moore and Nicoli Nattrass

London: 23rd June, 2006

Dear John Moore and Nicoli Nattrass,

In your article ‘Deadly Quackery’ (Opinion, The New York Times, 4th June, 2006), you stated:
“H.I.V. causes AIDS. This is not a controversial claim but an established fact, based on more than 20 years of solid science.”

Contrary to your unfounded claim, this is not an “established fact” but a proposition, a hypothesis, an assumption based entirely upon an arbitrary correlation between ‘HIV’ (whatever that is) and ‘AIDS’ (whatever that is). Correlation is not proof of causation. The case of the haemophiliacs proves that HIV cannot be the cause of AIDS.

Soon after HIV tests were introduced in 1985, it was noticed that many haemophiliacs were shown to be ‘HIV positive’. Robert Gallo seized upon this as evidence that AIDS was caused by an infectious, transmissible organism, presumed to have been conveyed to the haemophiliacs as a contaminant in their clotting factor preparations.

However, in the light of subsequent research, we can now see that the case of haemophiliacs, far from proving the existence of a transmissible retrovirus(HIV) alleged to have contaminated their clotting factor, proves conclusively, in fact, quite the reverse: HIV is not – and cannot be – the cause of AIDS.

Why did haemophiliacs start to die in appreciable numbers only after HIV was “discovered” in 1983? Surely if this alleged retrovirus was the cause of AIDS’ we would have noticed their premature deaths before 1983: and why didn’t haemophiliacs die from KS (Kaposi’s sarcoma) and PCP (pneumocystis carinii pneumonia), the two original “AIDS” defining diseases?

Gallo tried to make the case that AIDS was caused by a transmissible agent and cited cases of haemophiliacs whom it was assumed were infected via the clotting factor VIII. This assumption was based on two premises that subsequently proved to be totally false: a) the amount of putative virus in a plasma donor/seller’s blood and b) that the virus would survive the manufacture of factor VIII from the pooled plasma.

Uncritical scientists and medics accepted Gallo’s assumption. It soon became apparent, however, that the supposition was wrong. First, it was assumed that plasma donors/sellers were infected with HIV’ and carrying huge titres of cell-free infectious virus particles that resulted in the contamination of the pooled plasma used in the manufacturer of factor VIII. Sometimes, these pools were as large as 30,000 donations of 600 millilitres (ml) of plasma. It was suggested that there was sufficient cell-free “HIV” in some of the donors to contaminate the whole batch. This supposed a massive titre of millions, if not billions, of viral particles in the infected donors. This was subsequently proved to be wrong. In the nearly 200,000 published scientific papers on HIV/AIDS, not one claims to have found a titre of more than 10 infectious particles per cubic ml of blood/plasma ( and even this negligible titre was based on surrogate markers!). There is no way that these negligible amounts of HIV, even if proven to exist, could have contaminated so much factor VIII that virtually all the haemophiliacs could be deemed infected with HIV. As Peter Duesberg rightly pointed out, the average amount of virus’ claimed to be present in the plasma or blood of an HIV-infected individual, stands at between 1 and 1.7 infectious viral particles per cubic ml, which is absolutely negligible.

Thus, paucity of virus rules out the suggestion that HIV was transmitted to so many haemophiliacs in a comparatively short space of time.

Studies subsequent to 1985 showed that HIV cannot survive long outside the host’s body. This is confirmed by studies showing that spilled HIV’ positive blood samples or spoiled laboratory cultures resulted in the quick death of the alleged “virus.” It was further discovered, and admitted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that dried HIV does not survive. Therefore, factor VIII that is subjected to cryoprecipitation (freeze drying) could not possibly contain viable, cell-free, infectious HIV, even if there had been any putative “virus” in the mix to begin with, which is extremely unlikely for reasons described above.

It was the 99 percent impurities in factor VIII that caused the immune suppression (AIDS) seen in haemophiliacs. Hence, the early discovery that seroconversion in haemophiliacs seems to depend on the amount and duration of consumption – it is age and dose-related.. They were dependent on a product that would eventually kill them. Also, as Duesberg cynically observed, “Even haemophiliacs are not immortal.”

The introduction of AZT – administered in enormous doses – rapidly killed many haemophiliacs. Their premature deaths exactly coincided with the fast tracking of AZT to haemophiliacs on ‘compassionate’ grounds in 1986-7
Haemophiliac mortality increased only after the introduction of AZT in 1986. Since about half of Darby’s 2,037 severe haemophiliacs were already HIV-positive by this time, surely HIV-caused mortality should have exerted a detectable influence prior to 1985 in this group. Only Duesberg’s theory can explain why the explosion of haemophiliac mortality should occur only on the heels of HIV testing: The cytotoxic pharmaceutical drugs and psychological terror that invariably accompany a positive HIV test also contributed to the increased mortality.

In January 1994, the CDC communicated the following experimental data and conclusion: “In order to obtain data on the survival of HIV [in factor V111 clotting factor], laboratory studies have required the use of artificially high concentrations of laboratory grown virus … the amount of virus studied is not found in human specimens or any place else in nature … it does not spread or maintain infectiousness outside its host. Although these unnatural concentrations of HIV can be kept alive under precisely controlled and limited laboratory conditions, CDC studies have shown that drying of even these high concentrations of HIV reduces the number of infectious viruses by 90 to 99 percent within several hours. Since the HIV concentrations used in laboratory studies are much higher than those actually found in blood or other body specimens, drying of HIV-infected human blood or other body fluids reduces the theoretical risk of environmental transmission to that which has been observed – essentially zero.” (My emphasis.)
Ironically, the very original suggestion that haemophiliacs were proof of the HIV/AIDS hypothesis can now be used to deconstruct this redundant and failed paradigm. There is absolutely no way that HIV could have been transmitted via commercial clotting factors.

I would like to conclude with science journalist Christine Johnson’s critical observations: “No one has actually seen HIV in blood plasma. Its presence is inferred from the results of indirect and non-specific techniques applied to virus cultures. AIDS expert Jay Levy of the University of California was able to find what he believed were HIV particles in the plasma of only 30 percent of the AIDS patients he studied, and then, it was at a low concentration – 10 infectious particles per millilitre. Levy concedes that this isn’t enough to establish an infection.”

It is widely accepted that the surface of HIV must be studded with knobs containing the protein gp120, which is crucial to the virus’s ability to infect cells. But experts such as Hans Gelderblom of the Koch Institute in Berlin, who has conducted most of the electron micrography studies of HIV, say that the virus loses its knobs when it buds from the cell. This means that cell-free virus is incapable of infecting other cells. Since plasma does not contain cells, if HIV were present, it would not be inside a cell and thus it would not be capable of causing an infection.

In addition, there is the dilution factor. Factor VIII concentrate is made from the blood of thousands of donors pooled together. Statistically, only one or two of these donors might be infected, so by the time their blood is merged with that of uninfected donors, only a few copies of HIV, or even none whatsoever, would be present per millilitre. (See “Bad Blood or Bad Science: Are haemophiliacs with AIDS diagnoses really infected with HIV?” by Christine Johnson in Continuum magazine, Volume 5, No. 4.)

The CDC accepts that a positive test in haemophiliacs is not proof of HIV infection: “It is possible that antibody to LAV [=HIV] is acquired passively from immunoglobulins found in factor VIII concentrates…. Likewise, it is possible that seropositivity is caused not by infectious virus but by immunization with non-infectious LAV or LAV proteins derived from virus disrupted during the processing of plasma into factor VIII concentrate.” (Evatt, 1985.)

Since in most cases the time between phlebotomy and conversion of pooled plasma to factor VIII concentrate is considerably greater than three hours, factor VIII is made from plasma which is cell free and, since the late 1970s, factor VIII has been supplied as a dry powder, which may spend months awaiting use, how can one reconcile the above facts with the view that haemophiliacs are infected with HIV via contaminated factor VIII concentrates?

Yours sincerely,
Alexander Russell, MA
England, UK.

This proposed Op. Ed. piece was in reply to Deadly Quakery, a scandalously inaccurate diatribe slipped into the Op Ed page of the Times on 4th June, 2006, probably in response to the 15 page Harper’s piece by Celia Farber, out of Control:AIDS and the Corruption of medical Science, whose accurate reporting on the manipulation of AIDS drug research by NIAID officials in favor of the drug companies and publicizing of Peter Duesberg’s never refuted rejection of AIDS as caused by an infectious virus, threatened to undermine total acceptance of HIV=AIDS paradigm, a sine qua non of microbicide researcher John Moore’s and South African activist Nicholas Nattrass’ career.

Readers can judge the scientific quality of the editorial for themselves. The facts in the piece which are errors knowing or not were dealt with the relevant post on this part of the blog, New AIDS Review :

New York Times
Op-Ed Contributor
Deadly Quackery
Published: June 4, 2006

H.I.V. causes AIDS. This is not a controversial claim but an established fact, based on more than 20 years of solid science. It is as certain as the descent of humans from apes and the falling of dropped objects to the ground.

So why reiterate the obvious? Because lately, a bizarre theory has gained ground – one that claims that H.I.V. is harmless, and that the antiretroviral drugs that curb the growth of the virus cause rather than treat AIDS. Such talk sounds to most of us like quackery, but the theory has emerged as a genuine menace to public health in the United States and, particularly, in South Africa.

The theory, which we call AIDS denialism, has gained such currency with President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa that his administration is reluctant to expand access to antiretroviral drugs. Despite generous allocations from the country’s Treasury and substantial assistance from foreign donors, only a quarter of those needing antiretrovirals receive them. This response is poor by the standards of middle-income countries, but it is especially troublesome in South Africa, which has more H.I.V.-positive people than any other country.

American AIDS denialists are partly to blame for South Africa’s backsliding AIDS policy. Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, the health minister, has described antiretrovirals as poisons. She is supported in these views by Roberto Giraldo, a New York hospital technologist who says AIDS is caused by deficiencies in the diet, and who served on President Mbeki’s AIDS advisory panel in 2000. The minister promotes nutritional alternatives like lemons, garlic and olive oil to treat H.I.V. infection. Several prominent South Africans have died of AIDS after opting to change their diets instead of taking antiretrovirals.

Another American AIDS denialist, David Rasnick, a regular letter-writer to South African newspapers, absurdly claims that H.I.V. cannot be transmitted between heterosexuals. Mr. Rasnick now works in South Africa for a multinational vitamin company, the Rath Foundation, conducting clinical trials in which AIDS patients are encouraged to take multivitamins instead of antiretrovirals.

In the past, South Africa’s Medicines Control Council acted swiftly to curb such abuses, and the Medical Research Council condemned AIDS denialism. But recent high-level political appointments of administration supporters to both bodies have neutered their influence. In South Africa, AIDS denialism now underpins a lucrative nutritional supplements industry that has the tacit, and sometimes active, support of the Mbeki administration.

By courting the AIDS denialists, President Mbeki has increased their stature in the United States. He lent credibility to Christine Maggiore, a Californian who campaigns against using antiretrovirals to prevent transmission of H.I.V. from mothers to children, when he was photographed meeting her. Two years later, Ms. Maggiore gave birth to an H.I.V.-infected daughter, Eliza Jane, who acquired an AIDS-related infection last year and died at age 3.

Mother-to-child H.I.V. transmission is now rare in the United States, thanks to the widespread use of preventive therapy and the activities of organizations like the National Institutes of Health and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Sadly, this is not so in South Africa, where many children are born infected and then face short, painful lives. The health and lives of American children are also still under threat: a small clique of AIDS denialists is trying to block the provision of antiretrovirals to H.I.V.-infected children in the New York City foster care system.

Until recently, AIDS researchers and activists in the United States tended to regard the denialists with derision, assuming they would fade away. Unfortunately, this has not happened. Harper’s Magazine recently published an article by Celia Farber promoting the denialist view. There is a real risk that a new generation of Americans could be persuaded that H.I.V. either doesn’t exist or is harmless, that safe sex isn’t important and that they don’t need to protect their children from this deadly virus. A resurgence of denialism in the United States would have far reaching effects on the global AIDS pandemic, just as it already has in South Africa.

The AIDS denialists use pseudoscience and non-peer-reviewed Internet postings to bolster their false claims about H.I.V. The real facts about this virus have been uncovered by scientists supported by the National Institutes of Health, the British and South African Medical Research Councils, the Pasteur Institute and many other national research organizations. The public should seek AIDS truth from the latter sources.

It is sad when selling magazines and vitamin supplements is considered more important than promoting public health and scientific truth. The truth is that H.I.V. does exist, that it causes AIDS and that antiretroviral drugs can prevent H.I.V. transmission and death from AIDS. To deny these facts is not just wrong – it’s deadly.

John Moore is a professor of microbiology and immunology at Cornell University. Nicoli Nattrass is the director of the AIDS and Society Research Unit at the University of Cape Town.

The further correspondence between MR Moore (refusing to answer any questions or comment on the material offered to him which contradicted his position) was as follows:


Dear John Moore,

Please could you reply to my response regarding your Op-Ed in The New York Times. You have not proven that ‘HIV’ exists or causes ‘AIDS’.

Yours sincerely, Alex Russell MA


Dear Mr Russell,
Yours sincerely,
John Moore PhD


Lancet cover suggestion Dear John Moore PhD,

Why ‘No’? What does ‘No’ mean? No – you cannot answer my questions? No – I have no answers? You said: ‘No’ because you know you have no answers.

A critical reading of S.C. Darby et al., ‘Mortality before and after HIV infection in the complete UK population of haemophiliacs’ Nature 7 Sept. 1995, vol.377 pp.79-82, showed that the mortality of seropositive haemophiliacs in the UK was stable until 1986 and suddenly shot up to coincide exactly with the introduction of AZT – you cannot face the fact that it was AZT (iatrogenic ‘AIDS’) that indiscriminately slaughtered the haemophiliacs – not ‘HIV’.

Yours sincerely, Alex Russell MA.

Sent: Sunday, July 02, 2006 5:16 PM
Subject: Re: Alex Russell’s reply to John Moore’s ‘reply’

You asked: “Please could you reply to my response below regarding your Op-Ed in the New York Times.”

I answered: “No”. (i.e., I declined to reply to your question).

John Moore

Sent: Sunday, July 02, 2006 9:02 PM
Subject: Re: Alex Russell’s reply to John Moore’s ‘reply’

Dear John Moore,

Why did you decline to answer my question? Surely, if you are in the right – it should be easy to refute my comments. However, if I am right, and ‘HIV’ is non-transmittable sexually and could not possibly have contaminated clotting factor VIII (8), then how do you explain the so-called ‘HIV’ positivity in haemophiliacs world wide? Please bear in mind that the CDC themselves have admitted that ‘HIV’ could not possibly have survived the freeze-drying used in its manufacturing process used in commercially produced clotting factor (VIII) 8. So how were the haemophiliacs ‘infected’ with ‘HIV’? They were not ‘infected’ by their clotting factor! What is your explanation? You have to answer this one!

PS: In the ringing words of Oliver Cromwell – “I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken.”

Yours sincerely, Alex Russell MA.

Message Received: Sep 28 2006, 02:29 PM
From: “John P. Moore”

Subject: Re: Lethal effects of AZT reported in The Lancet

Dear Mr Russell,

No. Again.

Yours sincerely,

John Moore PhD

Message Sent: Sep 28 2006, 11:29 AM

Subject: Re: Lethal effects of AZT reported in The Lancet

Dear Dr. Moore,

Despite your curt response ‘No’ (29, June, 2006) to my invitation to comment on the lethal effects of AZT on haemophiliacs, would you care to comment on the enclosed report?

Barnesworld Blogs, September 12, 2006

Lancet To Publish Long Overdue Erratum: AZT Lethal for Hemophiliacs

Hemophilia is a serious disease — blood won’t clot, huge risk of internal bleeding, big need for blood transfusions. And these transfusions placed those with this rare, single gene disorder in the original AIDS 4-H club (Haitians, Homosexuals, Heroin users and Hemophiliacs).

A well-cited paper by Goedert et al., Risks of immuodeficiency, AIDS and death related to purity of factor viii concentrate, published in the Lancet in 1994, describes a large multi-center trial to compare the benefits of highly purified clotting factor versus a less purified product for those unfortunate enough to suffer both hemophilia and the AIDS stigmata. The abstract reads:

In HIV-infected subjects with haemophilia, CD4 counts seem to fall more slowly in those on high-purity factor VIII (FVIII) than on intermediate-purity product. We evaluated whether risks for AIDS or death were associated with either product among 411 HIV-infected individuals. The relative hazard of AIDS was slightly elevated for both current (1.34) [corrected] and cumulative (1.01 per month) use of high-purity products (neither significant). The corresponding hazards for death were 1.49 and 1.03 (neither significant). Thus we found no evidence that high-purity FVIII concentrates retard the development of AIDS.

All well and good. But take a close look at the key table from this paper. It seems that some of these hemophiliacs were also being “medicated” with the chain-terminating nucleoside analog and failed cancer drug, AZT. And wouldn’t you know, the risk of hemophiliacs on AZT developing AIDS was 4.5-fold elevated, and they were more than twice as likely to die. How ya like them poisoned apples!

This is, by far, the most important variable in the multi-authored “parametric model”.

How did the many, senior scientist authors let this damning line into an otherwise bland table? The “quick and dirty” answer is that the junior level preparation of the graphics to go with the manuscript was not too swift, and the senior scientist crew was inattentive and no one noticed that the computer-generated, “total” data-package required editing. More to the point, and more significantly, why did the referees not question this? (They did not since it is never discussed, or even mentioned anywhere in the text.)

But science is self-correcting, even if the wheels of the mill of truth grind exceedingly slow but fine (or something like that).

Shortly after the discordant entry was called to my attention by our good friend doc Bialy (whose slide is linked above), we alerted the highly esteemed, very British editors of the Lancet to this minor anomaly, and the clear demonstration of the extreme toxicity of AZT. Perhaps in line with a trend started by the honest publication in August of some very provocative (to put it mildly) results of newer “antiretroviral therapy”, they agreed to print an erratum in the very first issue with the beautiful, redesigned cover we sent them (and which is reproduced below), and to elevate the important, but previously overlooked, major conclusion of the Godert study to its proper place in a suitably retitled article: Risks of Immunodeficiency, AIDS and Death Related to AZT Intoxication.

Although this may come a little late for the thousands of hemophiliacs who had their lives shortened by AZT, we think the editors still deserve a “Bravo” on the strength of what all our grandmother’s told us about better late than never being almost, always true.

So, Bravo, guys and gals, but in the future try and get it right the first time OK?

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