CRITIQUE OF THE NOBEL AWARD 2008 FOR THE DISCOVERY OF HIV
Made to two scientists who worked at the Institut Pasteur in France,
Professor Luc Montaigne and Dr Françoise Barré-Sinoussi
The montage of images below comes from the foot of the press release from the Nobel Committee announcing this award in October 2008. What it reveals is the very close association between the work of these two French scientists and the work of Dr Gallo and his team at the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Washington DC. In fact it was the latter team that first claimed to prove a virus was the cause of AIDS. When it turned out that the virus they had used was that of the French, LAV now known of as HIV, and not their own failed virus,HTLV-III, the French were awarded a share in the patent rights and income from the HIV test. The French it seemed had found the correct virus, but had only suspected that it might cause AIDS. It had been the Americans, while attempting to cheat by pretending the French virus was their's, that had actually succeeded in proving the French virus the cause of AIDS.
Thus the French finally today are being awarded the Nobel prize and not the Americans, for the discovery of the virus that causes AIDS. But - this award is highly controversial. For it depends on the validity of the American experiment that is today widely said to have proved the French virus the Cause of AIDS.
This dependence on the American research is revealed in the graphic at the bottom of the Nobel Committee's Press Release awarding this Prize. The electron microscope image in the lower right is from the Gallo research papers - and elsewhere on this website we publish a letter from the Head of Electron Microscopy at the National Cancer Institute, the very scientist who took these images, to say that there is no AIDS virus in them. The image on the upper right, of the 'Discovery of HIV in patients, seems to be actually of a cell culture - and it reveals a sudden spike in enzyme activity in this culture and nothing more. As the enzyme being measured is Reverse Transcriptase, an enzyme naturally present in every healthy or sick cell, including the cells in the culture, measuring its activity cannot possibly prove HIV present. This activity could be produced by any of the cells in the culture. This was a very basic error made by Gallo's research team when they researched the French culture sample. They did not detect any virus at all. Only this enzyme activity.
The French had got their cell culture sample (for that is what LAV is in practice) from a patient who did not have AIDS - but who had swollen lymph glands. They described 'swollen lymph glands' as a 'pre-AIDS' condition - but it is not. It is a general symptom produced when the lymph system is helping to fight any infection. They also used in their cell culture blood cells taken from an infant's birth code, without finding any AIDS in the mother or in the child. Nor was there any mention of a low T-cell count. In other words, there is no association between their LAV culture and AIDS.
Also, careful examination of the American experiment with the French sample reveals that it was never tested for pathogenicity, let alone to see if it causes AIDS! In fact the scientist who actually did this experiment, Mikulas Popovic, who worked in the laboratory headed by Robert Gallo, made no claim to have proved it caused AIDS - or any other illness. He expressly stated that cause of AIDS could not be found. He concluded that, based on the slim evidence that spikes were observed in enzyme activity, that they had managed to grow a retrovirus (a virus that carries this enzyme) in their culture, nothing more. His very last sentence was that now his team had done this, there was a hope that they would be able to produce enough of this virus to be able to test it in the future!
However - his laboratory boss, Robert Gallo, had already reported widely that his team had found the AIDS virus, and had already started to make an HIV test. He was now faced with a catastrophic loss of face - so he decided to cross out the conclusion of the paper Popovic had written to record his experiment. He then rewrote it to make it seem to say the opposite - and so the world has understood it until today. Thus this Nobel Prize is based on what amounts to a colossal fraud. We know what was done because Popovic, appalled at what his boss was doing, sent away a copy of the paper that showed his bosses changes to it, and asked his sister in Austria to keep it safely for him as proof, if ever needed, of who had done the fraud. In 1991 he retrieved this from his sister and gave it to a high-profile investigation into their work that was seeking to discover whose virus was it that had been used in this experiment. This draft paper proved to be the smoking gun. It proved Gallo had deliberately changed the evidence to hide their use of the French virus.
But it is an even bigger smoking gun than that - for it also reveals that Gallo also changed the paper to hide their failure to prove the French virus the cause of AIDS and their total failure to prove it in the slightest bit dangerous. It is now the Smoking Gun that undermines this Nobel Prize - and all the many other awards that have been given to Robert Gallo for his part in this "discovery."