Writer, producer and editor, has been at the forefront of the Aids debate since he brought his doubts about the Virus/Aids hypothesis to Meditel Productions. There followed four network documentaries on the subject for Channel 4.
The first, “Aids – The Unheard Voices”, on which he worked as associate producer and reporter won the Royal Television Society JournalismAward, 1987.
Michael’s background in the arts – English at Magdalen College, Oxford and then the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art has richly contributed to his incisive challenge of the Aids scientific establishment combined with his unerring wit.
Aids – 20 years on – A string of false assumptions
by Michael Verney-Elliott
On April 23rd 1984 President Ronald Reagan’s Secretary for Health, Margaret Heckler told the assembled international press that “The probable cause of AIDS…” had been found – a novel ‘human’ retrovirus initially called variously LAV, ARV, and HTLV-III. Subsequently, in 1986, despite a complete lack of convincing scientific evidence, which persists to this day, that such an organism causes immune suppression, in a pre-emptive move the retrovirus was named the Human Immunodeficiency Virus – (HIV) – by an international committee. It was generally accepted that after a period of latency, some infectees start to manifest symptoms of AIDS, and that this average length of asymptomatic infection was some ten years; once the symptoms appeared, the patient would inevitably die, with a totally destroyed cellular immune system.
The HIV hypothesis of AIDS causation was based on a set of assumptions, most if not all of which would be proved over the next ten years to be totally wrong. For instance, it was assumed that HIV was sexually transmitted, principally in semen. However, some twenty years later, not one HIV particle has been seen in, or recovered from, a freshly acquired semen sample taken from an HIV positive man. Moreover, the original assumption has never explained the precise mechanism whereby an insertive male becomes infected by his receptive partner, male or female.
It was assumed that HIV infects its target cells by means of the ‘spikes’ of glycoprotein 120 studding its outer coat. These spikes supposedly hook on to CD4 receptors on the target cells’ outer membrane, allowing the virus to attach itself prior to inserting its genetic RNA into the cells.
It is now abundantly clear that as the virus buds out of an infected cell, it sheds its ‘spikes’ and, according to the originally supposed method of cellular infection, cannot therefore infect further cells.
It was assumed that HIV would cause a global pandemic that would be more damaging than the Black Death that carried off a third of Europe’s population in the 14 th century. It was supposed that AIDS would spread from the initially infected minority groups – gay men, IV drug users, transfusion recipients etc. – via so called bridging groups – bi-sexual men, needle sharing drug addicts etc. Having spread to the heterosexual population, AIDS would escalate rapidly and, according to a statement from TV chat star Oprah Winfray by the year 2000 the whole of the USA would be infected. This did not happen, and in the USA, some twenty years later, AIDS is still largely confined to gay men, drug addicts and malnourished people in low socio-economic groups – mainly black and Hispanic.
It was assumed that the exponential spread of AIDS would continue until HIV ran out of victims. However, the actual number of AIDS cases as originally defined started to decline in the late1980’s. By then some 29 known diseases were classified as indicative of AIDS if found in the presence of HIV positivity – and still the numbers of AIDS cases had to be re-assessed downwards. In order to boost the numbers, and keep the AIDS terror going, new diseases had to be added into the syndrome, the largest increases being brought about by the addition of pulmonary tuberculosis and, to keep the women from feeling excluded, cervical cancer in HIV positive patients. Thus a new first was claimed for the versatile, all singing and dancing HIV – it could destroy the all important white T4 cells whilst simultaneously fostering the unstoppable proliferation of cervical cancer cells, yet another of the ludicrous claims made on behalf of HIV. There is no evidence that immune suppression is a necessary prerequisite for cancer.
Despite all the finagling with AIDS definitions and juggling of figures, the numbers of predicted AIDS cases still refused to rise to predicted levels. By the early 1990’s the epidemic was simply running out of steam. Most of the AIDS hype was merely apocalyptic theatre anyway, designed to sell expensive, lethal so-called anti-viral drugs, and the pharmaceutical companies viewed with alarm the prospect that the billions spent on R&D of said drugs would not show a good return if the show was beginning to fold too soon. So it was decided to take the AIDS circus on a third world tour. By sneakily re-packaging the fatal endemic diseases that have always killed Africans for generations – tuberculosis, malaria etc. – as AIDS, even without an HIV test, it could be claimed that sub-Saharan Africa was doomed, unless they could be subsidised by the developed world, who would pay for expensive anti-viral drugs. Similar AIDS panics are even now being fostered in India and Asia.
© 2005 Michael Verney-Elliott & IRF