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Prof. Luc Montagnier







Prof. Luc Montagnier ist der eigentliche Entdecker des HI-Virus (HIV)

Süddeutsche Zeitung, Montag 09. Oktober 2000 “Der Aidsforscher Montagnier hofft, an diesem Montag den Nobelpreis zu erhalten - seine Mitarbeiter hoffen das nicht.” mehr...


Did Luc Montagnier Discover HIV?

By Djamel Tahi - Continuum Winter 1997

Text of a videotape interview performed at the Pasteur Institute, July 1997. Please note: The answers by Luc Montagnier have been numbered for easier reference to the analyses in the reply by Papadopulos-Eleopulos et al.

DT: A group of scientists from Australia argues that nobody up till now has isolated the AIDS virus, HIV. For them the rules of retrovirus isolation have not been carefully respected for HIV. These rules are: culture, purification of the material by ultracentrifugation, Electron Microscopic (EM) photographs of the material which bands at the retrovirus density, characterisation of these particles, proof of the infectivity of the particles.

LM: No, that is not isolation. We did isolation because we "passed on" the virus, we made a culture of the virus. For example Gallo said : "They have not isolated the virus...and we (Gallo et al.), we have made it emerge in abundance in an immortal cell line." But before making it emerge in immortal cell lines, we made it emerge in cultures of normal lymphocytes from a blood donor. That is the principal criterion. One had something one could pass on serially, that one could maintain. And characterised as a retrovirus not only by its visual properties, but also biochemically, RT [reverse transcriptase] activity which is truly specific of retroviruses. We also had the reactions of antibodies against some proteins, probably the internal proteins. I say probably by analogy with knowledge of other retroviruses. One could not have isolated this retrovirus without knowledge of other retroviruses, that's obvious. But I believe we have answered the criteria of isolation. Totally. (1)

DT: Let me come back on the rules of retrovirus isolation which are : culture, purification at the density of retroviruses, EM photographs of the material at the retrovirus density, characterisation of the particles, proof of the infectivity of the particles. Have all these steps been done for the isolation of HIV? I'd like to add, according to several published references cited by the Australian group, RT is not specific to retroviruses and, moreover, your work to detect RT was not done on the purified material?

LM: I believe we published in Science (May 1983) a gradient which showed that the RT had exactly the density of 1.16. So one had a peak which was RT. So one has fulfiled this criterion for purification. But to pass it on serially is difficult because when you put the material in purification, into a gradient, retroviruses are very fragile, so they break each other and greatly lose their infectivity. But I think even so we were able to keep a little of their infectivity. But it was not as easy as one does it today, because the quantities of virus were nonetheless very weak. At the beginning we stumbled on a virus which did not kill cells. The virus came from an asymptomatic patient and so was classified amongst the non-syncythia-forming, non-cytopathogenic viruses using the co-receptor ccr5. It was the first BRU virus. One had very little of it, and one could not pass it on in an immortal cell line. We tried for some months, we didn't succeed. We succeeded very easily with the second strain. But there lies the quite mysterious problem of the contamination of that second strain by the first. That was LAI. (2) 





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