Biochem Prof Jim Hudson Reappraises AIDS

UNIVERSITY OF British Columbia, Vancouver, Professor Jim Hudson in 1967 relieved his PhD in molecular biology from Canada's University of Alberta, Edmonton, after receiving bachelors and masters degrees in biochemistry from Britain's University of London. Following a one-year post-doctoral fellowship at the Swiss Institute for Cancer Research in Lausanne, where he investigated animal viruses, he joined the microbiology faculty as an assistant professor at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. In 1990 he transferred to his current position as full professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. His commentary below provides evidence of yet another fully credentialed, professional scientist who has independently reached the same conclusions as those who have called for a complete reappraisal of the HIV explanation of AIDS.

I enjoyed very much David Rasnick's account of the AIDS Gordon conference (May 1999). It is just as well that somebody knowledgeable and critical still attends AIDS meetings, in order to bring some objectivity and balance to them. I personally stopped going to AIDS meetings several years ago -- I could no longer stand the stress of restraining myself from getting up and shouting "rubbish!"

However, I must take issue with certain terminology used freely in RA .

My first point concerns the use of the term "viral load measurement." We must remember that the techniques used for these so-called measurements do not allow us to equate these numbers with any viral attribute whatsoever. None of these investigators isolate actual viruses or viral genomes; all they do is add some primers to a PCR mixture and pretend that the printout represents HIV genomes.

None of this has been proven, and furthermore the PCR technique was never conceived as a quantitative measure of anything

In view of this we should always qualify our usage of the term "viral load," otherwise we fall into the trap of subscribing to their hypothetical nonsense.

My second point concerns the editorial boxes accompanying Rasnick's article. They concerned HIV mutations and drug resistance. The problem stems from the fallacy of equating PCR sequences with authentic viral genomes derived from real viruses. Most of the classical calculations of virus mutation rates, e. g., for polio virus, influenza virus, etc., were based upon studies of real viruses and their isolated genes. HIV may be a real retrovirus (it seemed to be when I was using something with that name in my studies on natural antivirals), and it probably mutates at the same rate as the other RNA viruses mentioned above.

But nobody knows what PCR amplified sequences really are. (Perhaps some of them are just bits of retrotransposons -- "jumping genes" -- which are found abundantly in the human genome.) Consequently, in most of the studies on purported mutation rates in "HIV" we cannot be certain what the numbers represent. Therefore, we should not accept these speculative "mutation rates" as meaningful.

Regarding drug resistance, a normal RNA-virus mutation rate such as those exemplified by the viruses involved in influenza, polio, etc., would suffice to ensure that the conventional gene-directed approach to antiviral therapy is doomed to failure every time.

My background, documented by authorship of over 100 published scientific papers, includes research on various animal viruses, particularly murine (mouse) cytomegalovirus and other herpes viruses. In the last 15 years my emphasis has been on the antiviral effects of medicinal plants. For two years I included so-called HIV as one of my target viruses, but only because I got some of the funding earmarked for HIV. Before I realized that HIV wasn't even a pathogen, though, this funding disappeared when the granting body realized how unconventional my research was -- i.e., using natural products instead of toxic, patentable pharmaceuticals.

From the outset I was never convinced that HIV had a role to play in AIDS, since the so-called evidence was unacceptable to me. However, I learned to keep my views to myself for a long time until I realized that there were many other "dissidents" and doubters out there, many of whom I suspect were prompted into declaring their opinions after Peter Duesberg's catalyzing actions. I tend to favor the concept of three major "causes" of AIDS in the West: multiple microbial onslaughts in promiscuous anal intercourse; drug-induced immune suppression in "drug abusers"; and immune dysfunction (possibly autoimmune induced) in hemophiliacs. All of these can be exacerbated by adverse social conditions (do many rich people get AIDS?).

I do not believe there is an AIDS epidemic in Africa or Asia. People there are still dying from the combined effects of chronic infectious diseases plus malnutrition, poverty, and other factors, just as they always have.

Hudson can be reached at 604-875-4351 or jbhudson@ intechange.ubc.ca.