Fabio Franchi to the Perth Group

Trieste, Italy, 4 February 2010

Dear The Perth Group,

I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think Montagnier’s claims in “House of Numbers” will be very useful to support the dissidents’ ideas.

This is to say, the Perth Group’s observations and similar ones are unimpeachable, but the enormity of nonsense of the things repeated by the Nobel laureate gives the orthodoxy a way out.

In fact, if Montagnier is the discoverer of the HI virus, he is (or was) also one of the top experts in the retrovirology. Therefore it seems impossible he doesn’t know that:

“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 (by The Perth Group)

If now Montagnier claims … what he claims, this simply suggest he has become mad or that arteriosclerosis has confused him or perhaps his interest in promoting papaya leads him to these fantasies of his: wild fantasies that do not match with any scientific theory, neither orthodox nor dissident (and not even his own of some coherence!)

If I were orthodox, I would say Montagnier was a relevant scientist until awarded the Nobel Prize in 2008, but that now he is a rather confused old man, and in this way elegantly avoid facing the questions he broached. I’d hide the whole issue with a kindly veil and would continue to think… as usual. Nevertheless there are tens of thousands of researchers working with the “HI virus”. If the dissidents insist too much on this subject, this is bound to happen.

Then the dissidents could use another slightly different point of view: Montagnier did not become confused (but other adjectives could be used), HE HAS ALWAYS BEEN LIKE THIS, and House of Numbers is just the most recent episode. What is serious is that the orthodox scientific world has never been aware of this; it even brought to the Olympus of the Nobel so much lack of common sense, MAKING IT ITS OWN. They preferred him over Gallo, whose wrongdoings cannot be forgotten about.

Montagnier’s numerous nonsensical “gems” in past years are all documented, especially by the Perth Group. But till now the principles of Evidence Based Medicine have been regularly ignored so the hope on some effect remains scanty. Let's see.

Instead, if I were an HIV-positive individual, I would be sorry to watch these too passionate discussions about “virus/non-virus”, that are undoubtedly important and must be settled. I would be more in favor of discussions on how to improve my health and about concrete alternative, really effective proposals. Antiretroviral drugs, even with all their limitations, offer some (improvement). Real and not only apparent and that must be explained better. Unfortunately, from the dissidents’ side there are several individual stories that ended up badly, one of them, and not easily forgettable, being that of Christine, who was a flag for many of us.

Because I would expect good results from a good theory and vice versa, the situation is not so clear and convincing. This is the real conundrum the stands on the dissident  movement, to my view.

Fabio Franchi


PS Excuse me for my intervention in a debate that I could follow only partially.