Readers of TCW will be familiar with Neville Hodgkinson’s critical reporting of the ‘Covid crisis’ since December 2020, notably his expert, science-based informed alarm about the mass ‘vaccine’ rollout, so absent from mainstream coverage. What they may be less aware of is the international storm this former Sunday Times medical and science correspondent created in the 1990s by reporting a scientific challenge to the ‘HIV’ theory of Aids, presaging the hostile response to science critics of Covid today. In this series, written exclusively for TCW, he details findings that form the substance of his newly updated and expanded book, How HIV/Aids Set the Stage for the Covid Crisis, on the controversy. It is available here. You can read Part 1 of this series here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here and Part 4 here.
AS A former newspaper medical and science correspondent, I saw striking parallels between the mishandling of Covid, from 2020 onwards, and illusions over HIV/Aids on which I had reported for many years. In both instances, scientists and public health experts seemed to lose their heads in the face of lobbying by powerful and sometimes mega-wealthy interests. The lobbyists were able to gain sway over state health agencies, whose generally good intentions became too readily misinformed and misdirected.
With Covid, the big push was for a jab to protect us against the toxic ‘spike protein’ that made the genetically engineered SARS-CoV-2, a product of biodefence research, a genuine new arrival in the world of microbes. Involvement of agencies heavily invested in vaccines, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK’s Wellcome Trust, contributed to economically and socially disastrous lockdowns, and to mass vaccination with the experimental mRNA gene products. Thousands of deaths and millions of injuries have been reported in the wake of these jabs, but more than two years on, authorities such as the UK’s NHS continue to insist against all evidence (see also here) that they are ‘safe and effective’ and save millions of lives.
With Aids, the promotion of an unvalidated blood test for an unproven ‘HIV’ infection became the illusory basis of worldwide panic. A global marketing opportunity opened for drug and test kit manufacturers, and a vaccine was promised within two years. Forty years on, a vaccine is not even on the horizon, despite billions of taxpayer dollars having gone into countless trials.
No one seems ready to face the possibility that there will never be a vaccine for a virus that, according to an exhaustive, immensely painstaking analysis by a group of scientists based in Perth, Western Australia, has never been proved to exist.
The so-called HIV test detects antibodies to a range of proteins (antigens) assumed, but never proved, to belong to ‘HIV’. The proteins do exist, of course, and they are found at raised levels in the blood of people exposed to a variety of chemical and microbial challenges. These can include drugs, anal sex, multiple pregnancies, repeated blood transfusions, and chronic malnutrition-associated infections.
As explained earlier in this series, despite Herculean efforts in the laboratory, scientists were unable to obtain particles of ‘HIV’ from patients with Aids or at risk of Aids. Such particles would normally be considered essential for developing a diagnostic test. The particle constituents provide the test’s developers with specific antigens. Blood that reacts with those antigens can be assumed to have antibodies signalling exposure to a specific microbe, though cross-reactions can produce false positive results.
With the HIV test, however, there were no virus particles through which antigens could be defined as relating to HIV. Instead, the test’s developers used antigens found to be reactive with antibodies in the blood of people with symptoms of immune system breakdown. Yet those were the very patients who had often been exposed to a wide variety of antibody-inducing stimuli, which did not necessarily have anything to do with a deadly virus.
On the basis of this test, millions of people have been diagnosed ‘HIV-positive’, and if they become ill, victims of ‘HIV/Aids’. But the reason they test positive has nothing to do with a new virus. The idea that the test shows infection with a deadly virus is based on entirely circular reasoning, bypassing the need to prove the existence of ‘HIV’ itself. People test positive because they have antibodies to proteins falsely designated ‘HIV’ antigens.
As explained in Part 3 of this series, that false designation was made by researchers who thought detection of a particular enzyme, reverse transcriptase (RT), meant the presence of a retrovirus. RT was later found to be ubiquitous in cells, whose genetic activity is much more dynamic than was realised 40 years ago when the ‘HIV’ theory was developed.
Public health experts knew of this deficiency from the outset. One hundred experts from 34 countries at a 1986 World Health Organization meeting in Geneva heard that the test kits were licensed to protect blood supplies, as they served as a broad screen for possible abnormalities in blood. People with Aids and at risk of Aids suffer a range of active infections, some of which could be transmissible through blood transfusions. The tests helped to protect against use of such ‘dirty’ blood.
But the meeting was told that something more was needed to distinguish genuine ‘HIV’ infection or indeed determine if there were truly such a thing as ‘genuine HIV infection’. The test kits should not be used to diagnose or screen for HIV as such.
The delegates heard that a so-called ‘confirmatory test’, called ‘western blot’, relied on the same principle as the test kits it was supposed to be checking, and so was also incapable of being used to diagnose HIV/Aids. In a monumental scientific ‘fudge’, however, a representative from the US Food and Drug Administration told the meeting that public health needs had caused usage of the kits to expand and ‘it was simply not practical’ to stop this.
In other words, panic over Aids caused science to be thrown out of the window. It was just as we now know happened with the arrival of Covid, when powerful agencies conspired to bring about unprecedented, economically and socially disastrous lockdowns, misuse of dubious testing technologies that exaggerated case numbers, and mass administration of an experimental gene product sold to us as a ‘safe and effective’ vaccine.
When later studies of the ‘HIV’ test showed a close link between testing positive and risk of developing Aids, that was taken to prove the test’s validity. The link was entirely artificial, however. It was a consequence of the circular reasoning, not of ‘HIV’ infection.
As the HIV/Aids paradigm won worldwide acceptance, increasingly complex procedures for trying to make a reliable diagnosis came into being. But the basic problem remains to this day: scientists have not been able to validate any of these procedures against pure virus, taken from patients, because no such virus has ever been obtained.
Research has repeatedly confirmed that many different conditions cause raised levels of the antibodies looked for by the ‘HIV’ test, putting people at risk of being labelled HIV-positive when there is no such virus present. They include mycobacterial infections such as TB and leprosy, widespread among impoverished people, and the cause of millions of misdiagnosed ‘HIV/Aids’ cases in Africa.
Also, when cells are dividing and growing at a higher rate than normal, such as in pregnancy, raised levels of antigens are liable to trigger positive test results which have nothing to do with ‘HIV’. This is another source of illusory ‘HIV/Aids’ diagnoses in poor countries and communities where many women undergo multiple pregnancies.
Manufacturers of the tests know they should not be used diagnostically, and test kits contain a disclaimer to that effect, such as ‘Do not use this kit as the sole basis for HIV infection’. Healthcare providers never diagnose HIV based on a single test result – further ‘confirmatory’ tests are always required, and on the basis of how one test performs against another, high levels of accuracy are claimed. But these are bogus claims. All the tests suffer the same problem: lack of validation against actual virus. When the tests are based on similar principles, if the principles are wrong it means all such tests are wrong too.
As in the early days of Covid, the greater the fear generated by modellers and media, the greater the sense of approval from the authorities. In 1987, a computer model prepared at the Los Alamos National Laboratory said one American adult in ten could become infected by 1994, although researchers admitted that was based on inadequate information. In fact, the number of ‘HIV’-positive Americans has remained at a little over a million almost from the start of the testing programme. This is not the behaviour of an infectious virus new to humanity.
In 1985, the Royal College of Nursing said one million people in Britain ‘will have Aids in six years unless the killer disease is checked’. The actual cumulative total of Aids cases by 1990 was below 5,000. Today, fewer than 200 Aids diagnoses a year are reported in the UK, and well under 3,000 new ‘HIV’ diagnoses.
In poorer countries, however, continued inappropriate use of the tests has led to claims that millions are ‘HIV-infected’. This belief fuels a continuing flow of jobs and cash for researchers, non-governmental organisations, charities, and drug companies. According to the World Health Organization, 38million people are ‘living with HIV’ today, and 27,500,000 are receiving antiretroviral drugs.
It is a great tragedy. Through good intentions as well as selfish interests, huge resources are being misdirected. Since the inception in 2003 of the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the US government has invested more than $100billion in the global HIV/Aids response. It is the largest commitment in history by any nation to address a single disease, funded through the American people’s generosity. The project is said to have saved more than 25million lives, prevented millions of HIV infections, and supported several countries in achieving HIV epidemic control – ‘all while significantly strengthening global economic security’.
The weight of support for the HIV theory is still huge. PEPFAR is managed and overseen by the US Department of State, and implemented by seven government departments and agencies, ‘leveraging the power of a whole-of-government approach to controlling the HIV/Aids epidemic’.
But what if there is no epidemic? Would not development aid be a more humane and effective response to the immune deficiency widespread in poor countries than drugs of dubious safety and effectiveness, invalid tests, and endless vaccine trials?
Thirty years ago, in 1993, Sunday Times editor Andrew Neil sent me to Africa for several weeks to report from the ground on what was happening there. At that time, there were forecasts that the population was set to be decimated because of long-established, widespread infection with HIV. After meeting scientists, doctors, politicians and patients in Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Tanzania, I found no good evidence of a new, epidemic condition. But there was an epidemic of fear – Zimbabwe’s health minister told me that he called it ‘HIVitis’ – created by an invasion of Aids researchers armed with the unvalidated diagnostic tests.
My reports provoked a flood of correspondence, some supportive – such as from the influential and knowledgeable New African magazine – but also including condemnation from the highest level in the UK. A letter signed by Baroness Chalker, Minister for Overseas Development, Sir David Steel, Liberal Democrat spokesman for foreign affairs, and Tony Worthington, Labour’s foreign affairs spokesman, accused me of writing nonsense. Their letter was said to have been seen and agreed by a long list of heads of medical establishments, including the chief medical officer, the director of the Medical Research Council, and voluntary organisations concerned with Aids. It said:
‘Mr Hodgkinson says that the scientific community have collectively failed to validate their tests for HIV and have deliberately inflated statistics. If we are to believe him, these scientists have fooled the World Health Organisation, governments in developed and developing countries alike, international development organisations like the Save the Children Fund, ActionAid and Oxfam, institutes of public health, journalists and the general public.
‘The sad fact is that Africa is in the grip of a major HIV epidemic. Tens or hundreds of thousands have already lost their lives: tens of millions are at risk.
‘Mr Hodgkinson has got it badly wrong, and you do your readers a disservice in giving credence to his nonsense.’
In 1993 Africa’s population was approaching 700million. In 30 years, far from being decimated, it has more than doubled and now stands at nearly 1,433,000,000.
Philippe Krynen, head of the African mission Partage Tanzanie, was a star on the HIV/Aids circuit until he realised that ‘this epidemic which was going to wipe out Africa is just a big bubble of soap’, as he told me at his headquarters overlooking Lake Victoria in 1993. Krynen, whose charity has been doing magnificent work for orphans in the region for nearly 35 years, managed to resist an attempt by the European Community’s Aids task force to have him thrown out of the country in the wake of his revelations.
We were last in touch in November 2022. He wrote: ‘The Aids issue is totally buried in dusty files, at least for us here in Tanzania. The distributors of antiretroviral drugs are still doing their business in the country but the pandemic tale is dead.’
He added: ‘As for the Covid tale, it didn’t last long. In 2020 a short epidemic of acute respiratory tract infection was taken care of by a cocktail of common antibiotics. The combination of very few tombs per community, and a patent lack of statistics, dismantled the scarecrow. Prevention (masks and soaps) was quickly abandoned and business as usual never interrupted . . . Tanzaniatoday is seen as a peaceful African jewel.’
Covid has made it more important than ever that the illusions around the HIV theory of Aids should be dispelled. They are not likely to disappear overnight, but 40 years on, with no vaccine or cure for the purported ‘HIV’ infection, and many lives put at risk by toxic medicines directed against a mythical enemy, is there not someone in the scientific community with the integrity and human decency to take an honest look at the astonishingly detailed and challenging work of the Perth scientists?
Otherwise, we may also be condemned to decades of untruths about Covid. So far, the scientists who created the genetically engineered virus have not been called out for their mistakes, and a continued climate of fear means people are still testing, distancing, masking, and queuing up for an ineffective and unsafe medical treatment that masquerades as a vaccine.
Next: Ill-founded claims of a virus genome