HIV Is Not the Cause of AIDS By Peter H. Duesberg Science, Vol. 241, pp. 514-517, July 29, 1988. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is not the cause of AIDS because it fails to meet the postulates of Koch and Henle, as well as six cardinal rules of virology. 1) HIV is in violation of Koch's first postulate because it is not possible to detect free virus (1, 2), provirus (3-5), or viral RNA (4, 6, 7) in all cases of AIDS. Indeed, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has established guidelines to diagnose AIDS when all laboratory evidence for HIV is negative (8). 2) In violation of Koch's second postulate, HIV cannot be isolated from 20 to 50% of AIDS cases (1, 9-11). Moreover, "isolation" is very indirect. It depends on activating dormant provirus in millions of susceptible cells propagated in vitro away from the suppressive immune system of the host. 3) In violation of Koch's third postulate, pure HIV does not reproduce AIDS when inoculated into chimpanzees or accidentally into healthy humans (9, 12, 13). 4) In contrast to all pathogenic viruses that cause degenerative diseases, HIV is not biochemically active in the disease syndrome it is named for (14). It actively infects only 1 in 104 to > 105 T cells (4, 6, 7, 15). Under these conditions, HIV cannot account for the loss of T cells, the hallmark of AIDS, even if all infected cells died. This is because during the 2 days it takes HIV to replicate, the body regenerates about 5% of its T cells (16), more than enough to compensate for losses due to HIV. 5) It is paradoxical that HIV is said to cause AIDS only after the onset of antiviral immunity, detected by a positive "AIDS test," because all other viruses are most pathogenic before immunity. The immunity against HIV is so effective that free virus is undetectable (see point 1), which is why HIV is so hard to transmit (9, 12, 13). The virus would be a plausible cause of AIDS if it were reactivated after an asymptomatic latency, like herpes viruses. However, HIV remains inactive during AIDS. Thus the "AIDS test" identifies effective natural vaccination, the ultimate protection against viral disease. 6) The long and highly variable intervals between the onset of antiviral immunity and AIDS, averaging 8 years, are bizarre for a virus that replicates within 1 to 2 days in tissue culture and induces antiviral immunity within 1 to 2 months after an acute infection (9, 17). Since all genes of HIV are active during replication, AIDS should occur early when HIV is active, not later when it is dormant. Indeed, HIV can cause a mononucleosis-like disease during the acute infection, perhaps its only pathogenic potential (9, 17). 7) Retroviruses are typically not cytocidal. On the contrary, they often promote cell growth. Therefore, they were long considered the most plausible viral carcinogens (9). Yet HIV, a retrovirus, is said to behave like a cytocidal virus, causing degenerative disease killing billions of T cells (15, 18). This is said even though T cells grown in culture, which produce much more virus than has ever been observed in AIDS patients, continue to divide (9, 10, 18). 8) It is paradoxical for a virus to have a country-specific host range and a risk group-specific pathology. In the United States, 92% of AIDS patients are male (19), but in Africa AIDS is equally distributed between the sexes, although the virus is thought to have existed in Africa not much longer than in the United States (20). In the United States, the virus is said to cause Kaposi's sarcoma only in homosexuals, mostly Pneumocystis pneumonia in hemophiliacs, and frequently cytomegalovirus disease in children (21). In Africa the same virus is thought to cause slim disease, fever, and diarrhea almost exclusively (22, 23). 9) It is now claimed that at least two viruses, HIV-1 and HIV-2, are capable of causing AIDS, which allegedly first appeared on this planet only a few years ago (20). HIV-1 and HIV-2 differ about 60% in their nucleic acid sequences (24). Since viruses are products of gradual evolution, the proposition that within a few years two viruses capable of causing AIDS could have evolved is highly improbable (25).