BOOK REVIEW

:
The Virus Within
By Nicholas Regush

Michael Wade Jackson A02-92-6779

BICD 136: Dr. Nesbitt November 26, 2002

Jackson 2 The Virus Within: Is HIV the Answer ? Synopsis Nicholas Regush in The Virus Within, challenges the central dogma of AIDS diagnosis, treatment, and prevention by suggesting that human herpes virus 6 (HHV-6) is the primary killer of T-lymphocytes in AIDS patients and furthermore that HIV may be a trivial bystander in AIDS. Regush, utilizes the work of many scientific researchers in the field of virology, as well resorts to name dropping; Bob Gallo & Peter Duesburg. The evidence presented in the work focuses on the multiple facets of HHV-6 and its role in patients with Roseola, AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The pivotal researchers are Donald Carrigan & Konstance Knox who worked at the Medical College of Wisconsin and are now running their own private research lab the Institute for Viral Pathogenesis. The Virus Within follows the work of these two researchers as they move to identify the role of HHV-6 in AIDS and its significance in other ailments. Capturing the trials and tribulations associated with being outcasts in the scientific community. “The Virus Within not only reveals the lack of evidence that HIV is the sole cause of AIDS, but also shockingly demonstrates the extent to which the medical establishment is fighting to keep this quiet” (Regush, The virus Within). Evaluation of Argument HHV-6 causes AIDS not HIV. This is the central premise of The Virus Within. The evidence provided to support this position comes from multiple

Jackson 3 sources which include the research of Carrigan & Knox1, Robert Gallo2, Howard Urnovitz3, Peter Duesburg4, Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos5, Joseph Sonnabend6, John Martin7, and Koichi Yamanishi8. The principle research evaluated is the product of the endeavors of Carrigan & Knox. The two subject areas of research involve the link between HHV-6 and immunosuppression in bone marrow transfer candidates and the presence of high levels of HHV-6 in the lymph tissues of AIDS patients. The focus of this research is to identify the killing potential of HHV-6 which can be seen to attack leukocytes which are the guardians of the adaptive immune system. The argument is then proposed that since HIV is not observed to directly kill leukocytes it cannot be the main cause of AIDS, in which the immune system is under severe attack leading to the onslaught of opportunistic infection. The flaw within this argument is that HHV-6 is present in approx 90% of North Americans (Nichols, Macleans p76) and in turn could be
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Donald Carrigan & Konstance Knox. Researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Identify HHV-6 in lymphocytes of HIV infected people as well as HHV-6 immunosuppression of bone marrow transplant individuals. Research also includes Multiple Sclerosis. Started own laboratory after lack of sufficient funding and termination of employment at Medical College. 2 Robert Gallo (NCI division of NIH) Co-discoverer of HIV and has represented HHV-6 as a possible cofactor for HIV infection in research following the announcement of HIV as viral agent in AIDS. 3 Urnovitz is a medical researcher involved in the role of endogenous viruses. Endogenous means that the virus comes from within the human genome and is already existent in the human genetic sequence. He believes that HHV-6 is involved in chronic disease development and gene rearrangement in genetic sequence causing disease. 4 Peter Duesburg is a faculty member of the University of California, Berkeley. He has written Inventing the AIDS virus a 711 page work in which he argues that HIV was a rushed conclusion and that HIV violates Koch’s postulates and is not a significant factor in AIDS but that “Toxic Hits” play a crucial role in immunosuppression. 5 Is an Australian researcher who also contends the link between HIV an AIDS? Questions the very existence of HIV stating that stressors cause genetic sequences to produce fragments that have been characterized as HIV. 6 Sonnabend believes that HIV was a rushed one cause decision and that the medical establishment needs to realize that AIDS is a disease which is a constituted of many causes which needs to produce a broadening of the focus of AIDS research. 7 John Martin provides the basis for the link between Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and HHV-6. 8 This Japanese OBGYN provided the principle investigation of HHV-6 and its relationship with Roseola. This research shows that the babies with roseola which proves to be fatal have significantly high levels of HHV-6 virus in the body.

Jackson 4 classified as an endemic viral infection in which the virus has developed a symbiosis with the human host. This is a significant flaw which is present in the text itself concerning roseola. Roseola is a childhood disease which has been linked to HHV-6 infection and per Professor Nesbitt endemic infections become diseases of childhood and are present in the adult population. These findings correlate with the data presented that HHV-6 is an endemic disease of childhood in the North American population. This conclusion further casts doubt on the role of HHV-6 as the principle agent as it is so abundant as to be classified as natural flora. The second theory proposed by Carrigan & Knox comes from an observational study of bone marrow transplant recipients which suffer immunosuppression and then fall prey to fatal HHV-6 infection. The important information in this research is that HHV-6 can become reactivated and prove to be fatal. HHV-6 attacks an immuno-compromised individual and exposes that individual to an AIDS like disease in which opportunistic infection leads to death. The aforementioned latency is characteristic of other family members of the herpes virus family including Herpes simplex virus 1 and 2 which cause cold sores and genital herpes, residing in the nerve cells until reactivated. These finding are used to challenge the actual role of HIV in AIDS. The challenge is short lived based on the following observation: 1) Per Professor Nesbitt, based on the evidence that once HIV+ blood was removed from the blood supply, the most effective mode of transmission (blood to blood contact), the cases of transfusion related HIV/AIDS has been significantly reduced to a frequency of

Jackson 5 one in a million. This evidence suggests that it was the testing of the blood for the presence of HIV not HHV-6 that led to the removal of contaminated infectious blood products, providing a link between HIV and AIDS. In summary, these two fields of immune suppression are the central work of Carrigan and Knox exploring the role of HHV-6. An interesting avenue of study is Multiple Sclerosis and the associated demyelination of neurons in the presence of HHV-6. This field of research suggests that the events transpiring in the MS sufferer’s brain may be similar to the dementia sometimes exhibited by AIDS patients. This avenue has not been significantly addressed by Regush to mount a challenge to the position, however, AIDS related dementia has been shown to be the result of the JC virus which causes sudden neurological problems. However, recent research Langford et al. suggests that antiretroviral therapy could be to blame in the development of the dementia as their research discovered high levels of HIV RNA but no JC virus, EBV, HHV-8, HSV 1 & 2, or CMV. This evidence calls into question the link between JC virus and the possibility of HHV-6 in the development of AIDS dementia. The field of AIDS related dementia is currently too nebulous to provide sufficient evidence to justify one position over another. The main conclusion of this work challenges the central dogma of AIDS research that HIV is the cause of AIDS. The information presented by Carrigan & Knox is significant research but the issue remains that the evidence supporting the link between HIV and AIDS is overwhelming and the occurrence of HHV-6 in the general population is of significant concern, so much so as to list HHV-6 as

Jackson 6 an opportunistic virus that accelerates the immune system destruction associated with AIDS but not the viral agent that is the sole destroyer of the immune system seperate of HIV. RELATIONSHIP TO THE CLASS AND LIFE The Virus Within takes the stance put forth by Peter Duesburg that HIV is not the cause of AIDS and suggests that HHV-6 is the viral agent. The assertion though highly questionable does deserve some recognition. The quest to find an ultimate cause of a disease may prove to be folly in the future and it is this need to create a one agent perspective that is best captured in The Virus Within. The book itself has challenged my beliefs surrounding the cause of AIDS and I believe that the most significant challenge comes from the issue that HIV does not kill but that the opportunistic infections that run ravage in the infected individual are the cause of death. The challenges to HIV causes AIDS are important to the maintenance of a open dialogue about treatment and prevention of AIDS, however I believe the issue of interest are potential co-factors that may influence the virulence of HIV. Robert Gallo and Luc Montagnier both support and have researched a co-factor approach to the destruction that HIV imposes on a human body. Gallo himself has focused on HTLV-1 and HHV-6 while Montagnier feels the culprit is mycoplasma with HIV as a co-factor (JAMA, 1990). The crucial knowledge that is necessary to produce a vaccine to the virus or to produce highly effective preventative measures can only be the product of a full understanding of the culprit causing this disease. Therefore, it can be said that challenges to the central dogma of AIDS research should only assist in the field

Jackson 7 of discovery and potential remission of this virus. This is an idealistic interpretation of the facts as presented in this work as well in the reality that is the academic research community. And the Band Played On only further elucidates the conformity that lies within the medical community surrounding this disease and the need to find an individual virus to gain significant funding to attack this epidemic. When the pediatrician, Arye Rubenstein, presented the finding that babies in his care were suffering from AIDS, what was to be a gay related disease, he faced significant ridicule and was ostracized for implying that AIDS was a general population problem. However, it can be shown that HIV affects all individuals, not just gay men. This ridicule, however kept this research from the mainstream public and further hampered advancement in the understanding of AIDS. Should everyone believe HIV causes AIDS or should the support and funding of research into alternate viral agents be increased to allow for knowledge and evidence which may go undiscovered due to the closed nature of the research community? This is the question that I take from this book which is one of significance because without the exploration of alternatives the greatest discoveries may never be realized. The final analysis is the presentation of the work by Regush and his sensationalism which contributes to the skepticism surrounding his research. In The Virus Within Regush uses the narrative form to grab at the emotions of the reader to convey the message of his work. This approach however is not an effective means of dialogue on HIV/AIDS issues as it merely spurs panic and as well leaves itself open to attacks not based on experimental evidence but based

Jackson 8 on its sensationalistic style. The book itself does throw in everything including the kitchen sink. It discusses the possible route of AIDS from the polio vaccine that was contaminated by simian viruses to the possibility that HHV-6 is so significant to be involved in MS and CFS. I wonder if Regush when concluding this work to gain a more varied reader base expanded his work to MS and CFS in hopes of making up for a significant amount of HIV associated research. Regush as well resorts to depicting the personal feelings of the characters involved too such an extent that this book seems like a biography of the scientists involved and their struggle in the scientific community.

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Bibliography 1. Carrigan, Donald & Knox, Konstance. Disseminated active HHV-6 infections in patients with AIDS. The Lancet. March 5th 1994 v343 n8897 p577(2) 2. Carrigan, Donald et al. Interstitial pneumonitis associated with HHV-6 infection after marrow transplantation. The Lancet, July 20th 1991 v338 n8760 p147(3) 3. Cotton, Paul. Cofactor question divides co discoverers of HIV : The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA): Dec 26th 1990 v264 n24 p3111(2) 4. Duesberg, Peter. HIV is not the cause of AIDS Science July 29th, 1988 v241 n4865 p514(2) 5. Gallo, Robert et al. Infection of natural killer cells by human herpes virus 6. Nature: April 1st,1993 v362 n64 p458(5) 6. Grace, Kevin Michael. The Hysteria Within Alberta Report: April 10th 2000 v26 i51 p44Goode, Stephen. Rogue Science or Reality? Insight on the News. March 11th 1996 v12 n10 p16(2) 7. Horton, Richard. Will Duesberg concede defeat?. The Lancet: Sept 9th 1995 v346 n8976 p656(1) 8. Langford, T Dianne. Severe, demyelinating leukoencephalopathy in AIDS patients on antiretroviral therapy. AIDS 2002, 16: 1019-1029 9. Nichols, Mark. A contrarian on AIDS: Could a common herpes virus be the real villain?: Maclean’s April 10th, 2000 p76

Jackson 10 10. Regush, Nicholas. The Virus Within London: Vision Paperbacks, 2001 11. Shilts,Randy. And the Band Played On New York: St. Martins Press, 1987

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