The mythology of modern medicine--IV. HIV: heuristically important virus. AIDS: advances induced deficiency syndromes.MV Kothari, LA Mehta
Dept of Anatomy, Seth GS Medical College, Parel, Bombay, Maharashtra.
Keywords: Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, HIV, Human, Mythology,
"In the Nineteenth Century men lost their fear of God and acquired a fear of microbes." As we approach the end of the twentieth century, the anonymously acclaimed fear of microbes has been superceded by the fear of HIV-AIDS. The pervasive paranoia, understandably, took off from a launching pad in the USA: THE AMERICAN PUBLIC, Known to the rest of the world as the originator of fads and fetishes, suffers from time to time with a preoccupation over a single disease.
Today that disease is cancer.' Nay, today that disease is HIV-AIDS. Of all the AIDS given by the calculatedly generous USA to the rest of the world, the current flood of fear is most crippling.
Has the HIV-AIDS cloud any silver lining? What if the HIV is an innocent bystander; a signal directing our eyes to the writings on the wall that loudly proclaim that the so-called AIDS has been precipitated by the so-called advances?
If that is so, HIV is truly a virus with a heuristic value - serving to guide science in the right direction. Before we succumb to the HIV-AIDS-phobia, let us take stock of some glaring discrepancies in the whole game.
Citing Hume, Fuller puts down as the earmark of causality, an invariant relation of events in which the cause must precede its effect and the effect must follow the cause, without gaps in time. “Causality can no more jump gaps in time than it can gaps in space”. The concept of latency that allows as many as 30 years between the exposure to the postulated cause (HIV) and the occurrence of the effect (AIDS) is, because of the irreconciliable temporal gap, clearly against H IV-AIDS causalism. This brings us to the Bombay Razor: Any causalistic proposition that A (HIV) causes 8 (AIDS) must in the same breath explain how A fails to cause B and how B manages to occur without A. No causalistic proposition, be it coronary, cancer, or common cold has been able to defend itself against the sharpness of Bombay Razor. HIV minus AIDS is too common. AIDS minus HIV is not uncommon.
If we are to believe in the authenticated statistics that the chances of HIV precipitating AIDS are 1:10,000-30,000, then, by requirements of the tenets of causalism including Bombay Razor, the burden of science of proving how HIV fails to cause AIDS is 9999 - 29999 times greater than to prove how it did. One can safely conclude that the proposition that HIV is the cause of AIDS is utterly vacuous, nebulous and fails to hold any water in the court of causalistic appeal.
"An antibody combines with the antigen that provoked its formation and inactivates its... a protein naturally existing in blood, serum or produced by an animal in response to stimulation by an antigen, which reacts to overcome the toxic effects of a specific antigen. It is good to produce an antibody.
With the arrival of HIV-AIDS-phobia, however, antibody stands dethroned being no longer an ally to be leaned upon but one to be feared. The Oxford Dictionary of New Words - A popular guide to words in the news -1992:"antibody positive/adjective: Having had a positive result in a blood test for the AIDS virus HIV: at risk of developing AIDS. Formed by compounding; having a positive test for antibodies to HIV. Long before AIDS anti body-positive was in technical use for any blood test for antibodies to a virus; it is only in popular usage that it has become specialized almost exclusively to the AIDS sense. This sense of anti body-positive arose during the mid-eighties, when fear of AIDS was at its height and much publicity was given to it.
Since infection with HIV could precede the onset of any AIDS symptoms by period of years, and only some of those who were tested positive would in fact develop symptoms at any time, health officials emphasized the need to avoid over-reacting to a positive test and tried (with varying degrees of success) to prevent discrimination against those who were known to be antibody positive. The adjective for a person found not to have been infected or a test with a negative result is antibody - negative, but this is less commonly found in popular sources". So, as the current usage compels us to revise, the HIV-antibody is pro HIV anti patient-body. To add insult to the injury caused to antibody comes a salvo from a 1992 Encyclopedia of Immunology: "Immunization against HIV could increase the severity of the disease it the virus were to be internalised by antibody-mediated endocytosis." it is disastrous to exhibit an antibody response.
Modem medicine's love-and-hate relationship with the universal, natural phenomenon of antibody response provokes numerous queries. By what divine right have the AID sologists decided that seroconversion is bad for the individual? If the HIV is known to lurk quietly for weeks, months or years without exciting antibody response, why not congratulate a seroconverted individual for the fact that long last his / her body has reacted against the virus to create a state of immunity. Isn't it likely that the very reason why thousands upon thousands of seroconverted people carry on “throughout the rest of their lives” without developing any AIDS is precisely because they are endowed with and protected by the antibody against HIV! Vive la HIV seroconversion.
And what about the misinformation that the so called seroconversion begets, for "HIV testing frequently misleading in Africa. The tests react to antibodies to malaria as well as HIV, producing upto 80-90% false positives". Should you still doggedly insist that seroconversion is bad, then why brag about, research upon, hope for the vaccine against HIV, against AIDS! Cancerologists have spent a living with the Haddow's Paradox:A gents that cure cancer cause cancer. And we know where cancerology stands today- where it was precisely 200 years ago. It is time that researchers drop all their immunologic pretensions vis-a-vis HIV-AIDS.
That is how Mr. Doolittle describe his daughter Eliza in My Fair lady, and that is how we, mankind describe HIVs. "The progenitors of these herpes viruses apparently wore present early in evolutionary history, and the viruses have coevolved with their hosts….. this suggests that HIVs are inherently primate viruses and that they were not derived from rodents, insects, fowl, ungulates or other non-primates via cross-species transmission.
Scientific advances exert a perversity that most notice not. Sex-typing was an advance that unleashed an orgy of female feticide in avowedly non-violent India. NF dried up the thin treacle of human compassion whereby an orphan had the chance of being adopted. Mahatma Gandhi was killed by a revolver, Indira Gandhi by a machine-gun, Rajiv Gandhi by a bomb. All through advancing technology! Someone has wryly remarked: When a cannibal starts using knife and fork while eating, do not name it an advance.
Many a technical advances have produced deficiency syndrome: Have a vehicle, walk not, thus rarifying your bones. Have mixers and grinders, chew not and lose your teeth. Have TV/calculator/computer, think not, thus have no mind. Have day-light fixures at night time so as not to see stars, prevent stimulation of rods, have retinal atrophy, get retinal detachment. Before these AIDS, isn't the HIV-AIDS too insignificant?
Our chief concern, here, is with immunodeficiencies occasioned by allopathic medication. The plural in the aforelisted word is to indicate that a variety of allopathic act in different ways at different sites to produce deficiencies of sorts.
Let us peruse but one text, on therapy: Clinical Pharmacology by Laurence and Bennett, in its 7th edition, reprinted 1993. Its detailed index boast of nearly 40 anti- drug-groups, many of which are admittedly immunomodulator in the direction of distinct deficiency. Among the agents that could, hopefully, promote immune sufficiency are only two
(i)interferon whose side effect is bone marrow depression, and
(ii) anthelminthic levamisole that is, unpredictably, supposed to enhance function of phagocytes and T lymphocytes. One could scientifically generalize that allopathic armamentarium is, so often immunosuppressive in nature.
The most widely used drugs are anti-inflammatory, anti-pyretic, antibiotic, anticancer, anti auto-immunity agents, each a manifest spoke in the wheels of body's immune mechanism; the oldest among these being aspirin, discovered by Bayer in 1889. Dare your patient have an ache, some wound, some infection, coronary or carotid problem, and she/he has to have one or the other NSAIDs, aspirin leading the band- wagon, and worthy of some discussion as follows.
Aspirin has "strong anti-inflammatory effects", through its blockage of prostaglandin biosynthesis by cyclo - oxygenase. To boot, it is "highly irritant to the stomach" and causes "erosion, ulceration and bleeding" in the GI tract. What price aspirination of the human body! With aspirin credited as the preventer of colonic cancer, coronary block or carotid constriction, the world is surely in the grip of Aspirin Induced Deficiency State.
The drug pushers, and now the medical texts, make you feel as it inflammation anywhere is an undesirable element demanding a knee jerk response via an anti-inflammatory agent. Howard Florey, the Noble laureate aphorised that inflammation is the backbone of pathology, a backbone not designed to be broken but to be strengthened. The body politique of mankind has been assailed by NSAIDs since 1889, antibiotics since 1935, corticoids and cancer - chemotherapy since the 50's so that, at the end of nearly 100 years plus assault on its immunologic wisdom, we have a global human herd, immuno-deficient, in more than one way. AIDS, Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome is a reality but not of HIV's making. We cannot but agree with Peter Duesberg's contention,,, that HIV is innocent of AIDS mischief. No wonder The Laficet had to recently editorialize: “AIDS minus HIV”?
Before we close the brief survey of Allopathogenic Immune Deficiency Syndromes, a few words about the modus operandi. NSAIDs directly hack at immunity and hence are immunodepressors. Antipyretics deny the body's right to right temperature, and antibiotics deny the body's right to a dialogue with microbes and hence, both, could be called immuno-abortants. Antibiotics behave as powerful microfluctuators whereby the body is denied its normal flora: "Opportunistic Infection: When any antimicrobial drug is used, there is usually suppression of part of the normal flora of the patient, which varies according to the drug. Often, this causes no ill effects, but sometimes a drug-resistant organism, freed from competition, proliferates to an extent which can even be fatal." Pray, who offers the opportunity to the so-called opportunistic infections?
1. Medicine knows little of AIDS, much less of HIV, having no right to link the two. If HIV were an immunosuppressor, why should there be autoimmunity in AIDS? And why should corticoids work against pneumocystosis in HIV-infected patients?
2. Acquired Immune Deficiency syndrome is a non-specific clinical reality that is merely an extreme manifestation of globally induced immune deficiency in humans, thanks to modern therapeutics.
3. Precisely because of point 2, the hithero dormant HIV virus has got naturally selected, hence accounting for its increasing detection in increasing numbers of human beings, reactive to it or otherwise.
4. Seroconversion is HIV's promotion of immunity. It is a badge of well-behaved immune system and needs to be complimented, praised. Yet, it should never be forgotten that the interconnectality between the virus and the antibody it presumably excites, is far-from predictable; there can be seroconversion in the absence of the virus, and refusal to serconversion despite the virus.
5. There is no need therefore for Crying wolf whenever someone is HIV +ve. This will avoid pernicious paranoia, suicides, and the creation of a novel form of untouchability, worse than lepers of Harijans ever faced,.
6. Money is where HIV is,,: “Because international funds are available for AIDS and HIV work, politicians and health workers have an incentive to classify people as AIDS sufferers... It has become a joke in Uganda that you are not allowed to die of anything but AIDS. A favourite story is that a friend has just been run over by a car, doctors put it down as AIDS - related suicide”.
7. The walls of prudish Indian villages and cities are replete with a condom-aid. Every sexual act, world over is now a condomed. Apart from the fact that this condommania will forever form a Berlin wall between the vaginal and the penile skins, it will also create an FL tower, not only in Paris but everywhere else. What of the condom-pollution that the already polluted Earth will face?
8. The chance association 29 of tuberculosis and HIV should be seen as what it is - a chance finding, nowhere causally related, except that both may be a result of the immune deficiency mankind has been bestowed with by modern medicine.
9. Rene Dubos, the pioneer microbiologist at the Rockefeller Foundation sounds most pertinent: It is probably because man has so much less control over the microbial world than the rest of life that microbiological sciences often follow a course outside the main channels of modern scientific thought, and tend to be dominated by a mode of thinking that often appears naive in the light of modern biology. The anthropocentric judgement of good and bad microbes is philosophically questionable". Modern man's arrogance against the microbes is a direct outcome of his calculated ignorance. Given HIV's naturalness, its right to mutate, and the poor record so that many vaccine-programmes have had, any talk , of vaccine development is Quixotean tilting at the windmills.
10. HIV must be credited as the Heuristically Important Virus, much as AIDS should read as Advances Induced Deficiency Syndromes.