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From: ((Steven B. Harris))
Subject: Re: HIV/AIDS/Robert Koch
Date: 16 Apr 1995
Newsgroups: (Michael Shaw) writes:

>> First of all, here are Koch's postulates. [...]
>>1.  The researcher must show that the same microbe exists in
every case of the disease studied.<<

    Comment from Steve Harris, M.D.: This postulate got abandoned
by Koch himself in his later work on cholera, in which the
microbe was extremely difficult to demonstrate in more than a
fraction of ill people.  But it was never found in well people,
and the ill people clearly all had the same thing, so Koch
proceeded statistically, guessing that his tests were not
sensitive enough.  And of course he did come up with the correct
answer by this process.  Today we'd have a hard time, using
Koch's rules, showing even that strep causes "sore throat."
Indeed, if Koch (as first formulated) is a guide to skepticism,
the fact that strep is found only in a fraction of sore throats,
and is sometimes found in well throats, too, should lead to
skepticism that it causes ANY disease at all.  Fortunately, more
complicated statistics than those Koch first used save us from
making fools of ourselves here.  Though not Duesberg.

>>2.  The researcher must be able to isolate the microbe and grow
it in pure culture.<<

   Comment: It is clear what that meant in Koch's day, but Koch
never knew about viruses, which are by definition impossible to
grow purely.  Indeed, with retroviruses, some HIV/AIDS critics
even complain that culture cells have hidden viruses inside them
which come out to plague your assays, and that you can never tell
what you are doing.  Thus, all retrovirus in vitro work is
supposedly suspect.  Duesberg, of course, never says this because
his own most famous work is in vitro retrovirus work, but this
only shows that each heretic attacks the part of science he
doesn't like and knows little about (while defending that which
he uses every day).  It is the "summary heretics" who are left to
put it all together, like the OJ Simpson defense team.  Those who
DO most of HIV's summary defense work are usually in bed with
their client, so to speak, and don't have the best judgement in
the matter.  Unfortunately, this virus is guilty of homicide, and
not even Robert Shapiro or F. Lee Bailey could get HIV off at
this point.  Though I suspect we'll see ridiculous appeals for
years yet.

>>3. The researcher must be able to inject this culture into
susceptible test animals and create the disease once again. <<

    Comment: There are viruses which cause significant disease
only in humans, like hepatitis B and C and yellow fever.  Some of
these are deadly (indeed one of Walter Reed's doctors died from
self-inoculation via mosquito during the yellow fever investiga-
tions).  The key hepatitis B work was done during WWII on
conscientious objectors, along with war gas and radiation work
being done in parallel on soldiers.  Ethical standards for human
experimentation were, shall we say, different then.  Strict
adherence to Koch's postulates today would make all HIV-1
research forever impossible to finally prove, until some HIV/AIDS
critics agreed to self-inject HIV to the point they became HIV-
positive.  So far (Willner included here) none has done so.
Duesberg refuses, which says about as much as anything about his
subconscious beliefs.

>>4.  The researcher must be able to isolate the microbe from the
infected animals, grow a new culture, and repeat the entire

   Comment: This suffers from the same problem as #3, where we
have a virus which only kills humans.  We have isolated a virus
called HIV-2 from AIDS cases in West Africa, and it does cause
AIDS in Asian monkeys, and is tranmissable from monkey to monkey
after culturing it.  Duesberg denies that HIV-2 causes AIDS, but
that isn't the point--- this is the Koch test which suggests that
HIV-2 does cause AIDS in West Africa at least, and Duesberg STILL
refuses to believe it.  That suggests to me that critics of HIV-1
would not believe these kinds of results if they could be
replicated for HIV-1.

    There are several lenti-viruses which cause AIDS in animals--
 FIV in cats, BLV in cows, SIV in Asian (though not African)
monkeys.  All these virus are identical appearing, and don't look
like any other retroviruses.  They have similar proteins,
genetics, and enzyme metal requirements.  They cause selective
CD4 lympocyte loss, wasting, lymphadenopathy, opportunistic
infection, brain disease, lymphoma, and death when injected into
animals.  Although the process is not invariable (just as it is
not with HIV), the animal viruses can cause disease after long
latencies, and can do it after good antibody responses.  If HIV,
isolated and identified for many reasons as the key changing
infection associated with AIDS in humans, is not the cause of
this immune deficiency and lymphocyte loss, then it's the biggest
coincidence ever to be seen in science.  I don't believe in
coincidences that big.

    >>Duesberg, and others, noted that at least postulates 1 and
4 are violated by HIV.  There are many HIV negative AIDS victims,
and there are large numbers of AIDS patients whose HIV titers
virtually or completely disappear as the disease advances.<<

    Comment: False.  There are not "many" HIV negative AIDS
victims (Duesberg's lists of thousands make use of his own
private looser defintion for AIDS).  A recent careful search of
several hundred thousand AIDS cases revealed only 100 who were
HIV-negative by every test.  Guess what?  These people don't look
like the rest of the AIDS epidemic in other ways.  They have low
IgA levels.  Often they have too-low CD8 levels.  They don't use
illegal drugs, AZT, or clotting factor, and they aren't gay men.
They didn't get transfusions, and their sexual partners aren't
infected.  Nobody knows what these people have, but it doesn't
look very "acquired."  In any case, epidemiologically there is
little justification for lumping them in as AIDS, even though
formally they do fit the CDC definition.

   As for the idea that HIV titers completely disappear as the
disease advances, that depends on how you measure them.  RNA
viral load, the best measure of active virus titer, not only
correlates with pace of disease advance, but it also rises during
the endstage of the disease, in frank AIDS.  Duesberg, of course,
now says he doesn't believe the numbers from this test.  What
else can he say?  It's a hallmark of bad theories that they
finally start simply rejecting data.  I note that so far,
Duesberg has not *publicly* and in print (on the record) attacked
the test methodology and controls for RNA viral load-- if he did,
he would be toasted for sure, since the test has been validated
in the standard way.  Duesberg merely continues to use the old
results using old tests which are far less sensitive than today's
assays, and the people who read Duesberg and not the primary
literature continue to believe him (and spread misinformation on
the nets, sort of like you're doing).

   >>Many diseases were conquered by adherence to these principl-
es, which is why Koch was honored as the man who "showed the

   Comment: And many disease haven't, like cholera and Hepatitis
C, which is why Koch is honored as an intelligent historical
figure who got some of the answers right, not Moses who gave us
revelation from God Almighty about how, forever more, to do
infectious disease control.


Steven Harris, M.D.| Der Luft, dem Wasser, wie der Erden
Experimental       | Entwinden tousend Keime sich,
Gerontology        | Im Trocknen, Feuchten, Warmen, Kalten!
"24 extra years    | Haett' ich mir nicht die Flamme vorbehalten,
is a good start"   | Ich haette nichts Aparts fuer mich.
                   |      --Der Teufel (Faust, pt I, sc 3)

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