OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES
Office of the Secretary Washington D.C.
April 28, 1987
An NCI grantee
scientist, Dr. Peter Duesberg of California/Berkeley, has published
a paper in a scientific journal which concludes that the HTLV-III/HIV
virus identified by Dr. Gallo and Dr. Montagnier is not the cause
of AIDS and that the disease is caused by "a still unidentified
agent" which may not even be a virus.
the paper was published in the March 1 addition of Cancer Research,
and gives a non-specific credit to Dr. Robert Gallo and others,
but nobody within the Department or the news media seems to have
been aware of it until it was disclosed Monday, 4/27, by a gay publication
in New York City.
has been an NCI grantee doing research in retroviruses and oncogenes
for 17 years and is highly regarded. He is the recipient of an "outstanding
researcher" award from the Department. The article apparently
went through the normal pre-publication process and should have
been flagged at NIH. Failing that, it should have caused a splash
on publication nearly two months ago.
gay activist and Department critic Larry Kramer is currently bringing
it to the attention of the media, but it really hasn't taken off
yet. I know for instance he has talked to Tom Brokaw about it. There
has been one call to CDC from Newsday and none to the press office
has the potential to raise a lot of controversy (if this isn't the
virus, how do we know the blood supply is safe? How do we know anything
about transmission? How could you all be so stupid and why should
we ever believe you again?) and we need to be prepared to respond.
I have already asked NIH public affairs to start digging into this.