Montagnier Backtracks

January 26, 2010

A few days ago, a video clip was posted on the Internet, which produced the kind of buzz that is shaking the world of AIDS research.  This clip shows a recent interview with Professor Luc Montagnier in which he declares: “We can be exposed to HIV many times without being chronically infected. Our immune system will get rid of the virus within a few weeks.”

by Djamel Tahi Nexus Magazine

These remarks are likely to surprise you when you discover they come from the man who obtained the 2008 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his discovery, in 1983, of HIV, the so–called virus that causes AIDS. Even more surprising – this is not Professor Montagnier’s first such radical statement. In 1990 he declared, on an American television program, that HIV was not the only cause of the syndrome AIDS (he postulated the action of infectious co–factors) and that HIV’s role might only be secondary in the destruction of the immune system of infected people.

At that time, this was equivalent to completely exonerating the virus. His statement unleashed an outcry in the scientific community which started to associate Luc Montagnier with Professor Peter Duesberg, a famous American retrovirologist of the University of California at Berkeley, and leader of a group of “dissident” scientists who, even now, keep questioning any involvement of HIV in causing the syndrome AIDS. In 1993 and 1998, in the context of a documentary film about “dissidents”, the Pasteur Institute’s virologist reiterated this statement, adding that people with a good immune system were protected against HIV infection. So, he was already saying the same thing as today!

But beyond the surprising nature of the French virologist’s statements, these remarks should be deciphered so that their (in)consistency gets evaluated. First of all, the steadfast way Luc Montagnier has been, for nearly twenty years, repeating such remarks, reveals that he never believed HIV could actually be the main and unique cause of the syndrome AIDS. Even though he has always condemned the Dissidents’ point of view, every new remark he makes brings him a little closer to their hypothesis and moves him away from the official thesis according to which HIV = AIDS. However, Luc Montagnier refuses to be likened to the Dissidents and remains one of the most fervent defenders of the official research on AIDS. His, to say the least, risky and acrobatic performance gives him a position that allows him to swing over from one side to the other depending upon whether progress or doubt is occurring in AIDS research. Such an attitude does not characterize great scientific courage or a very honest attitude towards the millions of people who have been diagnosed as HIV positives and are living in the fear of the disease.

It is very regrettable that Brent Leung, the young American film director who recorded Professor Montagnier’s words, did not encourage him to reveal what was behind such assertions. On what scientific studies are they based? Have those studies been published anywhere? We want to know if those people, whose “good” immune system has been able to eliminate the virus, still had traces of the infection. If so and if we believe that Professor Montagnier’s assertions are right, there would therefore be millions of HIV–positive people around the world, living in a state of perpetual anxiety of developing AIDS even though they do not have the virus in their bodies! A good many of them follow a treatment whose side effects are extremely toxic and can be detrimental to their health. This information is crucial, and the people who are concerned should be immediately informed so that they are aware of the virus’ harmlessness and can stop their treatment as quickly as possible. But what should then be the clinical and biological standards that could allow the determination of whether an infection has actually been neutralized and the virus suppressed? If, on the contrary, these people are HIV–antibody–negative (which should be, to say the least, very surprising), how is it possible to prove they’ve been in contact with the virus if it has not left any trace of its brief stay?

As we clearly see, this statement by Professor Montagnier is far from being insignificant and casts a serious doubt on many aspects of the AIDS research, such as the syndrome’s pathogenesis and aetiology to start with. 

Are Montagnier’s statements out of context? 

NEXUS magazine, which comments on this video clip in its January–February issue (Issue 66, pp 10–11, VIH: les contradictions du Pr Montagnier), contacted Professor Montagnier in order to get some more details concerning his statement. In his answer to the magazine, Luc Montagnier declared that his words had been “taken out of context” and that those people, he was actually referring to, had actually been only transitively HIV–positive for a few months before turning HIV–negative again. It would only have been a few rare cases that he could observe during his research career at the Pasteur Institute. When viewing the mentioned video clip, it appears clear that these assertions are absolutely not “out of context” and nothing suggests that the cases Professor Montagnier is referring to are unusual. He even goes further in the rest of the interview. To the question: “…If you take a poor African who’s been infected and you build up his immune system… Is it possible for them also to get rid of it (the virus)?” Luc Montagnier’s answer is “I would think so”. These assertions, confided with the utmost conviction, do not stop him from going back on his opinions when asked for some details.

Quite obviously, Luc Montagnier hasn’t got any scientific argument to support what he says. Or maybe he cannot reveal his data! For, if he did, the HIV discoverer would once and for all topple into to the Dissidents’ camp. For these, the French virologist’s remarks are a pure delight, as they see (again) in him a weighty ally against a scientific community that always reviled them. But, instead of considering him as being one of theirs, a searcher who has always been ready to change his mind, Dissidents should expose Professor Montagnier’s attitude as well as his lack of conviction regarding the role really played by “his” virus in the syndrome. A virus, whose isolation and characterization, as bio–physicist Eleni Papadopulos–Eleopulos revealed it, remain very questionable. This has brought Eleni Papadopulos and other dissidents to question HIV’s very existence. For their part, leaders of mainstream AIDS research have got used to ignoring the French virologist’s statements whenever they contradicted the established dogma. In the past, their criticisms would limit themselves to cliches, claiming that Luc Montagnier was responsible for his own speech and claiming that they have better things to do in fighting the plague than argue with Montagnier. However, there always has been some kind of embarrassment regarding the former Pasteur Institute’s researcher and his latest statement will only increase their unease.

That is why, today, Professor Montagnier’s remarks have lead to the urgent need for clarification of his position regarding the causation of AIDS. This is the least we have every right to expect from a Nobel Prize laureate in Medicine.

Djamel Tahi
Film director and journalist
Translated from the French by Pol Dubart

Montagnier’s answer to NEXUS Magazine 

With a view of openness and deontology,NEXUS Magazine contacted Professor Luc Montagnier in order to obtain an answer to Djamel TAHI’s article “VIH: les contradictions du Pr. Montagnier” and regarding his statements recorded on the footage that can be seen on Rethinking AIDS website. Here is the answer that NEXUS Magazine editorial office received from Luc Montagnier, and which has been published in the January–February 2010 issue (Issue 66, pp 10–11), following the mentioned article:

“My statement—taken out of its context in a film that glorifies the “Dissidents” and posted on Internet by a website that is searching for polemical debate—is based on observations I made while I was director of the Centre of reference on AIDS virology at the Pasteur Institute: we actually met several cases of persons being transitively HIV–positive for a few months and then turning HIV–negative again.This is difficult to detect, keeping count of the furtive nature of the infection, but, when applied to AIDS, it simply reflects a general phenomenon that can be found in many viral infections: under the effect of a good immune response, these will disappear after a few weeks.

In the case of HIV, this explains the enormous disparity of prevalence between the North (0,1% in our countries) and the South (5 to 10% in Africa). In southern areas, for a lot of reasons (such as co–infections or malnutrition), the immune system of many Africans is weakened and allows chronic infection to HIV.

These cases of people being transitively HIV–positive do not minimize the dangerous nature of HIV, which remains the key factor in the onset of AIDS, but they suggest that a regression of the epidemic can be obtained in Africa by taking general health measures.”

Perth Group Response

According to the HIV theory of AIDS healthy people with competent immune systems (normal levels of T4 cells) get infected with HIV and this infection causes the acquired immune deficiency (AID=low T4 cell count) that leads to AIDS.   However, Montagnier says that people with competent immune systems get rid of HIV within a few weeks.  In other words only people with immune deficiency develop what he labels as “chronic” HIV infection.  If the people who get infected with HIV are already immune suppressed then what is the role of HIV in AIDS

According to all the HIV experts, once infected with a retrovirus, always infected.   This is because the retroviral RNA is reverse transcribed into DNA which is then incorporated into the host genome (DNA).   Once in the host DNA it cannot be removed by any means.  This is why HIV infection is incurable.  As retrovirologist  Harold Varmus said in 1998, “Trying to rid the body of a virus whose genome is incorporated into the host genome may be impossible”.  So Montagnier has to explain how “general health measures”,  which we assume equate to clean water, sanitation, a good diet and medical services, are able to excise approximately 9 thousand specific bases from the human genome while managing to leave all the rest intact. 

If general health measures can remove these particular 9 Kbases after “a few weeks” then why not also after a few months?  Or twelve months?  Or twelve years? 

If general health measures, which have no toxicities, can remove the HIV DNA, why are doctors using ARVs with all their toxicities?  And why are millions of dollars being spent on vaccine research? 

The Perth Group
26 January 2010