Elizabeth Ely and David Crowe are using their How Positive Are You podcast to shill for Viral Forensics. They are even trying to scam a referral fee for a “service” that does not require a referral. I’ll discuss that in more detail in another post when I deconstruct the actual podcast with David Rasnick. For this post I want to take a look at a post by Ms. Ely ahead of the actual podcast on the importance of accuracy in testing.
Ms. Ely cleverly called her post an “editorial” which is nothing more than a person’s opinion. However, after crafting a caring, nurturing tone in her opening paragraph, Ms. Ely immediately assumed an air of authority on the subject. This propensity for those lacking in any scientific discipline to assume such authority is both frustrating and humorous to me. Being a trained and certified Medical Laboratory Scientist who actually does diagnostic testing on a daily basis, I find it difficult to imagine the amount of hubris and arrogance Ms. Ely must possess to speak with supposed authority on this subject. After receiving a B.S. in Biology I then spent another year in MT school, 8 to 5 Monday thru Friday. I then spent six months training in an actual hospital laboratory after which I had to pass a very strict test that took several hours. Now I am required to perform 12 hours of continuing education every year to maintain my certification. Ms. Ely calls herself an “Alternative Health Journalist” but her contently page leaves much to be desired in any journalistic field.
Let’s get to Ms. Ely’s actual post. I first want to reiterate something I have discussed many times: In the context of any scientific discussion, citations to supporting evidence, especially in the form of peer reviewed literature, are paramount. I recently documented how Mr. Rasnick’s own White Paper for Viral Forensics is woefully deficient in this area. Ms. Ely’s “editorial” suffers in much the same way; Her citations are simply circular logic that track back to other AIDS denialists’ articles which themselves have no supporting documentation OR her citations prove exactly the opposite of what she is trying to prove.
I. Sciencey-Sounding Shit
“The commercially available tests for “HIV positivity” or “viral load” have never been validated to the presence of live, infectious virus in human blood.”
WOW! That sounds impressive. But when you stop to consider the statement you realize that it is totally lacking in substance. It also makes zero sense. Furthermore, Ms. Ely has no knowledge of how these tests were designed, engineered or validated. To make such a bold statement would require at least a somewhat detailed explanation along with a link to a valid, verifiable source.
Not only is the statement lacking substance, it is also not true. Dr. Peter Duesberg, a once respected virologist and the Father of AIDS Denial has publicly stated that HIV has been isolated and validated by the most rigorous methods modern science has to offer:
HIV exists, and has been properly identified as a unique retrovirus on the grounds that (i) it has been isolated – even from its own virion structure – in the form of an infectious, molecularly cloned HIV DNA that is able to induce the synthesis of a reverse transcriptase containing virion, and (ii) that HIV-specific, viral DNA can be identified only in infected, but not in uninfected human cells. I will base my case for the isolation of HIV on the most rigorous method available to date, ie. molecular cloning of infectious HIV DNA, rather than only on the much less stringent, traditional “rules for isolation of a retrovirus … discussed at the Pasteur Institute, Paris, in 1973” that were stated criteria of isolation in the Continuum”s Missing virus reward (Continuum, 1996) . Indeed I will show that molecular cloning of infectious HIV DNA exceeds the criteria of the old “Pasteur rules”.
Ms. Ely’s next sentence is equally clueless:
“The accepted procedures of microbiology would require culturing cells from live persons and then looking for evidence of “HIV” in them under an electron microscope…”
Again, Ms. Ely is not only wrong on this matter, she offers no source to support her erroneous statement. Furthermore, this “accepted procedure” is not what Viral Forensics offers either. Viral Forensics simply looks at whole blood neither cultured nor amplified. As I have shown before, Dr. Hans Gelderbloom, the Father of Electron Microscopy has stated that viewing whole blood with EM is not adequate nor sufficient for finding HIV in whole blood:
Historically, electron microscopy has served as an effective method to identify viral agents of infection. However, the use of electron microscopy as a diagnostic tool is limited by its requirement for a high concentration of particles in the clinical sample. The limit of detection for diagnosis of a virus by electron microscopy is widely accepted as 10^6 -10^8 particles/ml.1 For HIV-1 patients, a “high” viral load may range from 10^4 – 10^6 HIV RNA copies/ml. Because each HIV particle carries 2 copies of the viral genome, 1×10^6 copies/ml would translate to 5×10^5 particles/ml, placing, in many instances, the positive detection of virus outside of the detection limit of electron microscopy. Another consideration is that although HIV can be transmitted through blood and blood products, the viral burden in an infected individual is found primarily in the lymphatic tissue, not in the blood (HIV in the blood may represent just 2% of the total viral burden). Finally, the detection of HIV in blood by electron microscopy may be further complicated by the structural pleomorphism the virus displays.
But who needs to listen to actual experts in their field like Dr. Duesberg or Dr. Gelderbloom when you have an actual Alternative Health Journalist?
II. Commercial Tests are not Sufficient for Diagnosis of HIV
“Further, all commercially available “HIV tests” and “viral load” assays are packaged with warnings that they are not sufficient to diagnose HIV infection or any known disease without also considering clinical symptoms.” (bolding mine)
Let’s first consider what I put in bold. That is just a silly statement. Testing and symptom presentation go hand-in-hand. A patient that presents with vomiting and chills will get a plethora of tests and questions from the doctor because those symptoms could be a myriad of illnesses. You wouldn’t want to go to an ER with a week long persistent headache and the doctor to immediately schedule a brain surgery. How about a little common sense.
Ms. Ely’s main goal here is simple obfuscation about the reliability of the tests. If you click on the link to the word “warnings” you will be directed to a page with several package inserts for HIV tests. This is a favorite gambit of the AIDS Denialists; create the false illusion that even the test manufacturers admit their tests are fatally flawed.
Let’s discuss a few things about these inserts:
- Each insert should be viewed as giving the reader the facts. If you are an AIDS Denialist trying to misinform, you can do as Ms. Ely does and make a blanket statement to obfuscate the truth and mislead and scare the reader. The truth is, the inserts state how the tests should be used; responsibly, taking into account symptoms and advising repeating of positive results and if still positive, further testing with different modalities. In other words, responsibly.
- The tests themselves state how highly accurate the tests are. Here is one example from the simplest test on the list: “OraQuick test will produce one false positive result out of about every 5,000 tests in uninfected individuals.”
- Not all the tests state they are not intended for diagnosis. The tests for diagnosis state there should be confirmation testing. The tests that explicitly state they are not for diagnosis NOR confirmation are those tests that are strictly for following disease progression and prognosis.
III. The old “cross reactivity” trope
“They (clinicians, doctors, healthcare workers) also never, to our knowledge, warn patients of the cross-reactions documented in mainstream, peer-reviewed scientific papers.”
Again, this is just a scare tactic. In fact, as Ms. Ely admits, these cross-reactions are well documented by a plethora of “mainstream, peer-reviewed scientific papers”. Even the previous link to the package inserts states this on many of those inserts. What Ms. Ely wants the reader to think is that these cross-reactions happen every time and not the rare occurrence that the peer reviewed papers prove them to be. That is also what duplicate testing and confirmation tests are for. No doctor, clinician or health care worker would ever tell a person that their tests are definitive and they should not nor could not seek a second or even third opinion.
IV. The situation is getting worse…NOT!
This is the most ridiculous, misleading and completely false statement Ms. Ely makes:
“The situation may be getting even worse, as the CDC announced in April 2014 that testing is not even required for a diagnosis of “HIV infection.” It is also widely – yet quietly – acknowledged that the Western blot, long used to “verify” an initial ELISA test, is problematic and no longer considered a useful confirmatory test.”
Ms. Ely’s first outrageous statement that “testing is not even required…” is complete non-sense and her link simply circles back to an AIDS Denialist podcast that is not true. Once again Ms. Ely thinks she can get away with making an outrageous statement and not link to a legitimate, verifiable source. As for her next statement that WB “is problematic and no longer considered a useful confirmatory test” is both false and misleading and demands further explanation as well as citations to legitimate, verifiable sources. The truth is, the WB is still used but newer, more appropriate supplemental tests are suggested such as Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests. The fact is, HIV testing is now in it’s Fourth Generation of testing and includes combination Antigen/Antibody tests. Also, each generation of testing is improved upon and HIV testing is definitely some of the most accurate testing there is.
In conclusion, Ms. Ely has no education or experience in this field and her title of “Alternative Health Journalist” is circumspect at best. Furthermore, Ms. Ely has proven over the years that she has chosen to believe that HIV tests are fraudulent and worthless and her only agenda is to deceive the general public based on nothing more than her emotionally informed belief.