HIV/AIDS Skepticism

Pointing to evidence that HIV is not the necessary and sufficient cause of AIDS

Archive for the ‘Funds for HIV/AIDS’ Category

Antiretroviral drugs: Reading between the lines about toxicity

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2014/04/01

All attempts to vaccinate against “HIV” have failed, despite Gallo’s three-decade-old promise of a vaccine within a couple of years.
All attempts to prevent “HIV infection” by means of microbicides have failed despite a couple of decades of attempts.

Unbiased observers might well infer that there is something wrong with HIV/AIDS theory.

Biased observers and interested parties, on the other hand, might experience cognitive dissonance and continue to put more of their efforts into “managing HIV infection”. Indeed, prominent spokespeople like AIDS-Tsar Anthony Fauci have been crowing for quite some time about the wonders of contemporary antiretroviral treatment which has allegedly turned the dreaded disease into a manageable, chronic ailment.

On the other hand, most “HIV-positive” individuals tell quite a different story, as do the official Treatment Guidelines, provided one reads between the lines of those Guidelines and notes that they are revised several times a year, that once-recommended treatment protocols get de-recommended and even recommended-against as time goes by, and that the Guidelines are replete with descriptions of hideous “side” effects of all the drugs and their combinations and their interactions with other medications — see “Antiretroviral drugs lead to normal life?”

Another instance of needing to read between the lines about antiretroviral drugs comes in the recent hyping of HIV/AIDS “cure research”:

Congressman Henry Waxman meets on Cure for HIV
Those taking “HIV treatment medications . . . are saddled with side effects and can die at a higher rate than non-HIV people. . . . David O’Dell . . . reported on his 27-year battle with HIV/AIDS [including] . . . . his many ongoing side effects of medications and complications from the HIV, including a stroke and extreme neuropathy, due to general inflammation caused by HIV and the treatment medications themselves have resulted in disability requiring governmental financial assistance. This was gripping testimony about a stark life with what is popularly called a ‘chronic controllable disease’ or the ‘new HIV normal.’”

Antiretroviral treatment does not make for a normal life and normal life-span, no matter the ballyhoo in advertisements by drug companies and in public statements by the likes of Fauci.
Furthermore, the “complications from the HIV” and “general inflammation caused by HIV” are ascribed to HIV only since the advent of antiretroviral drugs; there is no genuine evidence that HIV causes general inflammation, it is a speculation invented only because researchers have been unable to find a mechanism by which HIV can do what it is alleged to do.

A similar acknowledgement of the horrors of antiretroviral treatment is hidden in plain view in the Press Release from the International AIDS Society about “New cure HIV research”:
“HIV-infected individuals who harbour drug-susceptible virus, who have access to antiretroviral drugs, who can tolerate the drug side effects, toxicities, and other complications, and who are able to adhere to therapy can maintain control of HIV infection indefinitely. . . .
[One may wonder how many “HIV-positive” individuals satisfy all those caveats]
[T]hese therapies have limitations. They do not eradicate HIV, requiring people to remain on expensive and potentially toxic drugs for life. They do not fully restore health as patients still experience co-morbidities such as increased cardiovascular disease, bone disorders or cognitive impairment” [emphases added].

So cure research is certainly called for, with the sky the limit in terms of the resources that should be devoted to it:
“NIH recently awarded the Martin Delaney Collaboratories, large grants for research toward a cure, as well as a series of targeted funding initiatives to support this area of research. These programs are in addition to the substantial portfolio of ongoing basic and clinical HIV research of research related to the elimination of viral reservoirs and other research toward a cure.
Other traditional government-based funders of biomedical research like the French National Agency for Research on AIDS and viral hepatitis (ANRS), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Medical Research Council (MRC) in the United Kingdom are also increasing their commitment to cure research, and a number of non-government groups are raising and spending considerable amounts of money on cure research. Many of the pharmaceutical companies that invested heavily in antiretroviral drugs are now also allocating some of their resources to address this question.
The investment now going to cure research is substantial but almost certainly not
sufficient”[emphasis added; researchers are not known to consider resources and investments sufficient, no matter how large they happen to be].

And once again, reading between lines may raise some eyebrows:
“ The profound regulatory issues that surround the testing of novel drugs (many with high potential for toxicities) in a population that is generally doing well will need to be addressed, and a regulatory pathway for advancing candidate therapies through the clinical trial process identified;
 Strong community support is needed to advocate against complacency and to ensure that patients and their communities are fully engaged and informed about the risks and benefits of curative studies” [emphases added].

The second point acknowledges that “cure” research is risky, something that might not seem obvious to the uninitiated. The first point says that some way must be found to sidestep the normal regulations that safeguard human subjects from being enticed into dangerous trials that may not offer them any benefit. My guess would be that ways will be found to carry out such trials in Africa.

Posted in antiretroviral drugs, clinical trials, experts, Funds for HIV/AIDS, Legal aspects, uncritical media, vaccines | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

Huge fraud in HIV vaccine research

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2013/12/31

Millions of dollars in research funds were wasted for years on fraudulent vaccine research. One member of a research team got away with it for years without the team leader or other team members apparently being interested enough to look into the startling but fraudulent claims.  See my post on the SciMed blog:

$$-millions fraud gets little slap on the wrist

Posted in experts, Funds for HIV/AIDS, Legal aspects | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Wishful ignorance: “Cure research” on HIV/AIDS

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2013/03/03

Pundits, politicians, and people almost everywhere are woefully mistaken about how science works and what it can do. Specialist science writers and journalists rarely expose (do they even detect?) the all-too-frequent unrealistic, misleading assertions by public figures — including spokespeople for scientific and medical institutions — about what money can buy in the way of research results. Honest work over time and with some luck, in the activity we call “science”, enabled humankind to progress in understanding how the world works; but science cannot deliver answers on demand to every question we would like to have answered, no matter how much money we throw into the action.

Useful applications of science rest on scientific knowledge and understanding. If an event or a phenomenon is not well understood, no amount of resources including money can be guaranteed to bring a desired application.

Not infrequently, one hears calls for a Manhattan-Project-type initiative to accomplish this, that or the other, for example, to find a cure for cancer. The Manhattan Project was for building an atomic bomb. Only academic specialists appear to know that the Project came about only because the knowledge and understanding were already at hand to know that such a bomb was feasible in principle: it was known that nuclear fission of uranium occurs and that it releases energy far outstripping anything produced by chemical reactions. The Project started because scientists told policy makers that it was feasible. Inventing the atomic bomb was essentially an engineering project rather than a scientific one. Could the fissionable material (a relatively rare isotope of uranium) be isolated from raw uranium in sufficient quantity? Or could an alternative fissionable material, plutonium, be prepared in sufficient quantity in a nuclear reactor? How could the bomb be designed to explode only when and where desired, rather than as soon as the “critical mass” of fissionable material was assembled?
Innumerable technical problems had to be solved to attain the final goal, and some of those did involve the gaining of new scientific understanding; but the point remains that the Project was known to be in principle possible before it was begun; the pertinent laws of Nature were sufficiently understood. That cannot be said for several desired goals that have been hyped by researchers as well as by politicians and pundits. President Nixon declared a war on cancer more than 4 decades ago, and it has gotten nowhere, just as the (relatively few) honest and informed scientists had predicted: Because we still do not know how cancer starts or what it really is in terms of biological mechanisms.
Also much hyped since the human genome was decoded has been the desirable (as most people believe) goal of “gene therapy”: to replace known “bad” genes with good ones. Several decades of trials and errors have killed a number of human guinea pigs but have had none of the promised successes: Because we do not yet understand the workings of the human genome well enough. “Genes” are not immutable entities in their everyday operation; elaborate signaling mechanisms and feedbacks govern “gene” actions. (For an accessible description, see Gil Ast, “The alternative genome”, Scientific American, April 2005, pp. 58-65.)
Moreover, we do not know how to get “good” genes into the right place in the genome.
Those are just a few reasons why it was silly (some might say thoughtless or even criminal) to jump into human trials of “gene therapy”.

Now I read of another such pie-in-the-sky initiative: To provide more resources for “cure research” on HIV/AIDS:

Congressman Henry Waxman Meets on Cure for HIV [26 February 2013]
(Sent by AHF on behalf of the campaign for a Cure for HIV)
LOS ANGELES — On January 31st, 2013, a team comprised of leading cure scientists and AIDS support group leaders met with Congressman Henry Waxman . . . to address a cure for HIV and the problem of inadequate funding” [emphases added].

I was dumbfounded by “cure scientists” and “inadequate funding”.

The implication is unavoidable, that the Campaign for a Cure for HIV believes that there are presently researchers on HIV/AIDS whose ambition does not include finding a cure. What then are they doing? Quite a lot else, evidently, since “the National Institutes of Health (NIH) allocates a mere 3% of its 3 billion dollar HIV research budget to cure research” — according to “Gerald Gerash, . . . a longtime gay rights advocate whose recent passion has turned toward a cure for HIV/AIDS”.
The absurdity should be apparent if just a few moments are devoted to thought. Unlimited fame, glory, wealth awaits anyone who comes up with a “cure” for HIV. No researcher is unaware of that. They will follow any inspiration that offers a hope for that, and they would be given grant funds without stint to pursue that hope — so long as their peers agree that the hope seems reasonable and the method feasible. But the current proposals fail the test of plausibility rather obviously and badly.

What “cure research” means here was explained by the (grant-seeking) scientists present at the meeting with Waxman:
“Drs. Mitsuyasu and Cannon . . . discussed their ongoing, extraordinary and promising efforts in the area of anti-HIV gene and stem cell therapy . . . . Inspired by ‘the Berlin patient’ . . . who was cured of HIV by the use of blood stem cells from a person who was born with T-cells lacking CCR5, they hope to duplicate his result in a safe way for people with HIV. Their novel approaches are at the forefront of AIDS cure research, one already at the early stage of human testing” [emphases added].
As already remarked, gene therapy has gotten nowhere. Stem cell therapy has not yet gotten even that far. The “human testing” cannot possibly be at the level of actually trying out the “cure” as such (or at least it shouldn’t be); it will just be early preliminaries — otherwise the call would not be for research funds but for resources to provide the cure to all “HIV-positive” people.

As for inadequate funding . . . . What has been provided for HIV/AIDS research is enormously in excess of what has been devoted to the ailments that most people suffer from and eventually die of, for instance cardiovascular disease, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), diabetes (Open Letter to my Representatives in Congress).

As to “cure research”, I had evidently missed an earlier (26 July 2012) Media Release by the International AIDS Society on the occasion of their XIXth International Conference:
“Last week the Inaugural Global Scientific Strategy Towards an HIV Cure was launched amid renewed optimism from the world’s leading HIV/AIDS scientists that the future prospects for finding an HIV cure are increasing. . . . Towards an HIV Cure identifies seven important priority areas for basic, translational and clinical research and maps out a path for future research collaboration and funding opportunities” [emphasis added].

If further comment seems needed, see “The Research Trough — where lack of progress brings more grants”;
“From Dawn to Decadence: The Three Ages of Modern Science”;
“80% unemployment?! The research system is broken”;
“Dishonesty and dysfunction in science”.
As a general rule, it is good to bear in mind that just because words can be put together doesn’t mean that a feasible reality is being described. “Gene therapy”, “cure research”, “stem cell therapy” and many more are just words and wishes. They are perfectly suited to science fiction but not (at present; yet?) to science policy.

Posted in experts, Funds for HIV/AIDS, HIV absurdities, uncritical media, vaccines | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

History of HIV/AIDS, and Seth Kalichman

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2012/08/02

I had just finished the previous post about the PBS documentary rewriting history when the Office of Medical and Scientific Justice posted a really excellent account of the early history of the suppression of dissenting views together with an analysis of Kalichman’s book Denying AIDS.

Highly recommended reading:
“Book Review: Denying AIDS”



Posted in experts, Funds for HIV/AIDS, HIV does not cause AIDS, HIV skepticism, uncritical media | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Mainstream HIV PSEUDO-science

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2012/06/11

When at long last researchers find out how to keep HIV in check, that naturally makes news:

“Secret of HIV’s natural born killers out”
“Revealed: Secret of HIV’s natural born killers”
“SFU scientists contribute to HIV breakthrough — Natural resistance to AIDS may be key in developing a vaccine”
“Study digs into secrets of keeping HIV in check”
“People with rare natural ability to fight AIDS virus have potent ‘killer’ cells that recognise and destroy infection”

That’s just a sampling of what Google turns up about this just-announced phenomenal breakthrough. I was inspired to get the research article itself, published on-line ahead of print in Nature Immunology, 10 June 2012; doi:10.1038/ni.2342.
It’s a highly technical 12 pages long, with a rather technical title: “TCR clonotypes modulate the protective effect of HLA class I molecules in HIV-1 infection”.
There are 21 authors from 6 laboratories in 4 countries (Canada, Germany, Japan, USA).
The number of authors is greater than the number of studied subjects, who totaled 10: 5 of them “elite controllers”, the other 5 “HIV-positive” people on HAART.

Even the news reports cited researchers not involved in the work who pointed out that this in itself means nothing at all, given not only the small number of subjects but also the fact that “elite controllers” have never been found to be all alike in the immunological characteristics that seem to matter.

It is no mystery, of course, why such an inconclusive little bit of possible progress would be published: the vast majority of research articles are like this, adding no more than tiny bits of possibly useful information — LPUs, least-publishable units.
It is also no mystery, why the media would trumpet about it: Their attention was drawn to it by the paper’s authors, so that further grants and kudos would flow in their direction. After all, this work would not have been possible without grants from:
“Harvard University Center for AIDS Research . . . , the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation . . . , the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation . . . , the US National Institutes of Health . . . , the Howard Hughes Medical Institute . . . , the Mark and Lisa Schwartz Foundation . . . , the Intramural Research Program and the Office of AIDS Research of the US National Institutes of Health . . . , the Canadian Institutes for Health Research . . . and the Canada Research Chair in Viral Pathogenesis and Immunity . . . .”

The lead author, cited in the news stories, appears to be Bruce D. Walker, “professor at Harvard School of Public Health”.
One can only hope that he was not quoted correctly to the effect that “One person has been fending off AIDS since 1978”.

It would be a nice trick, after all, to have diagnosed “HIV infection” some 6 years before the purported discovery of HIV.
Not, of course, that reporters who cover such stories need know anything about the subject.
Nor, of course, that researchers studying elite controllers need know anything about the history of the discovery of “HIV”.

Posted in clinical trials, experts, Funds for HIV/AIDS, HIV absurdities, uncritical media | Tagged: , | 10 Comments »