1200 New York Avenue NW
Washington, DC, 20005..
December 1, 2008
To: Bruce Alberts, Editor in Chief, Science:
On May 4, 1984 your journal published four papers by a group led by
Dr. Robert Gallo. We are writing to express our serious concerns with
regard to the integrity and veracity of the lead paper among these four of
which Dr. Mikulas Popovic is the lead author. The other three are also
of concern because they rely upon the conclusions of the lead
In the early 1990s, several highly critical reports on the research
underlying these papers were produced as a result of governmental
inquiries working under the supervision of scientists nominated by the
National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine. The Office of
Research Integrity of the US Department of Health and Human Services
concluded that the lead paper was “fraught with false and erroneous
statements,” and that the “ORI believes that the careless and
unacceptable keeping of research records...reflects irresponsible laboratory
management that has permanently impaired the ability to retrace the
important steps taken.” Further, a Congressional Subcommittee on
Oversight and Investigations led by US Representative John D. Dingell of
Michigan produced a staff report on the papers which contains scathing
criticisms of their integrity.....
Despite the publically available record of challenges to their veracity, these
papers have remained uncorrected and continue to be part of the scientific
What prompts our communication today is the recent revelation of an
astonishing number of previously unreported deletions and unjustified
alterations made by Gallo to the lead paper. There are several documents
originating from Gallo's laboratory that, while available for some time,
have only recently been fully analyzed. These include a draft of the lead
paper typewritten by Popovic which contains handwritten changes made to
it by Gallo. This draft was the key evidence used in the above described
inquiries to establish that Gallo had concealed his laboratory's use of a cell
culture sample (known as LAV) which it received from the Institut Pasteur.....
These earlier inquiries verified that the typed manuscript draft was
produced by Popovic who had carried out the recorded experiment while
his laboratory chief, Gallo, was in Europe and that, upon his return, Gallo
changed the document by hand a few days before it was submitted to
Science on March 30, 1984. According to the ORI investigation, “Dr. Gallo
systematically rewrote the manuscript for what would become a renowned
LTCB [Gallo's laboratory at the National Cancer Institute] paper.”....
This document provided the important evidence that established the basis
for awarding Dr. Luc Montagnier and Dr. Francoise Barré-Sinoussi the
2008 Nobel Prize in Medicine for the discovery of the AIDS virus by proving
it was their samples of LAV that Popovic used in his key experiment. The
draft reveals that Popovic had forthrightly admitted using the French
samples of LAV renamed as Gallo’s virus, HTLV-III, and that Gallo had
deleted this admission, concealing their use of LAV...
However, it has not been previously reported that on page three of this
same document Gallo had also deleted Popovic's unambiguous statement
that, "Despite intensive research efforts, the causative agent of AIDS has
not yet been identified,” replacing it in the published paper with a
statement that said practically the opposite, namely, “That a retrovirus of
the HTLV family might be an etiologic agent of AIDS was suggested by the
It is clear that the rest of Popovic's typed paper is entirely consistent with
his statement that the cause of AIDS had not been found, despite his use
of the French LAV. Popovic’s final conclusion was that the culture he
produced “provides the possibility” for detailed studies. He claimed to have
achieved nothing more. At no point in his paper did Popovic attempt to
prove that any virus caused AIDS, and it is evident that Gallo concealed
these key elements in Popovic’s experimental findings.
It is astonishing now to discover these unreported changes to such a
seminal document. We can only assume that Gallo’s alterations of
Popovic’s conclusions were not highlighted by earlier inquiries because the
focus at the time was on establishing that the sample used by Gallo's lab
came from Montagnier and was not independently collected by Gallo. In
fact, the only attention paid to the deletions made by Gallo pertains to his
effort to hide the identity of the sample. The questions of whether Gallo
and Popovic’s research proved that LAV or any other virus was the cause
of AIDS were clearly not considered.....
Related to these questions are other long overlooked documents that merit
your attention. One of these is a letter from Dr. Matthew A. Gonda, then
Head of the Electron Microscopy Laboratory at the National Cancer
Institute, which is addressed to Popovic, copied to Gallo and dated just
four days prior to Gallo’s submission to Science. In this letter, Gonda
remarks on samples he had been sent for imaging because “Dr Gallo
wanted these micrographs for publication because they contain HTLV.” He
states, “I do not believe any of the particles photographed are of HTLV-I,
II or III.” According to Gonda, one sample contained cellular debris, while
another had no particles near the size of a retrovirus. Despite Gonda’s
clearly worded statement, Science published on May 4, 1984 papers
attributed to Gallo et al with micrographs attributed to Gonda and
described unequivocally as HTLV-III.....
In another letter by Gallo, dated one day before he submitted his papers
to Science, Gallo states, “It’s extremely rare to find fresh cells [from AIDS
patients] expressing the virus... cell culture seems to be necessary to
induce virus,” a statement which raises the possibility he was working with
a laboratory artifact. ....
Included here are copies of these documents and links to the same. The
very serious flaws they reveal in the preparation of the lead paper
published in your journal in 1984 prompts our request that this paper be
withdrawn. It appears that key experimental findings have been
concealed. We further request that the three associated papers published
on the same date also be withdrawn as they depend on the accuracy of
For the scientific record to be reliable, it is vital that papers shown to be
flawed, or falsified be retracted. Because a very public record now exists
showing that the Gallo papers drew unjustified conclusions, their
withdrawal from Science is all the more important to maintain integrity.
Future researchers must also understand they cannot rely on the 1984
Gallo papers for statements about HIV and AIDS, and all authors of papers
that previously relied on this set of four papers should have the
opportunity to consider whether their own conclusions are weakened by
- Mohammed A. Al-Bayati, PhD, DABT, DABVT.
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Emeritus, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
- Terry Bennett, MD, MPH.
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of Nature Biotechnology, author of Oncogenes,
Aneuploidy and AIDS: A Scientific Life & Times of Peter H. Duesberg.
- Christopher Black, Barrister, International
Criminal Lawyer, Lead Counsel, Rwanda War Crimes Tribunal.
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of Psychology, SUNYBrockport, New York, USA.
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- Etienne de Harven, MD, Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto.
- Andrea G. Drusini, MD, PhD, Medical
Anthropologist, Professor of Anthropology,
Department of Medico-Diagnostic Sciences and
Special Therapies, University of Padova, Italy.
- Charles Geshekter, PhD, Professor Emeritus of
History, Chair, History of Science Section,
AAAS/Pacific Division (1990-95). California State University, Chico.
- Roberto Giraldo, MD, Specialist in internal
medicine, infectious and tropical diseases.
Member of the Department of Integral
Psychosomatic Medicine, International Society of
Analytical Trilogy, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
- Pablo L. E. Idahosa, PhD, Professor, Social
Science Program Director, African Studies
Graduate Program, International Development
Studies Founders College, York University, Canada.
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Emeritus, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, Medical Writer.
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medicine, Dept. of Oncology, Univ. of Kiel,
Germany (1983 -1993). Since 1993, in private
practice increasingly treating HIV-positive
people who decline antiviral drugs. Member of
South Africa Presidential AIDS Advisory Panel.
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Philosophy Department Head, University of Ghana.
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and Biochemistry (Emeritus). San Diego State University, USA.
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(USSR), certificate (Tropical pathology- Japan),
PhD (Path- Japan), DFM (Path- RCPA-Australia),
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(in Ophthalmology), cancer biologist in the Dept.
of Pathology, Univ. of Illinois - Chicago
(2002-2007), and consulting cell and tissue engineer.
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Director, Iris MedicalFoundation, Lagos, Nigeria.
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- Prof. Dr. med. Jochen Schaefer, Director,
International Institute forTheoretical Cardiology, Kiel, Germany.
- Hugo Stenstrom, MD, Senior interventional
radiologist, Department of Radiology, Linkoping University Hospital, Sweden.
- Gordon T. Stewart, MD. Emeritus Professor of
Public Health, University of Glasgow, and
consultant physician (epidemiology and preventive
medicine), NHS, UK. Former consultant to New York
City, WHO and to other health authorities in
Europe, North America, Africa and Asia on AIDS
and related matters. Emeritus Fellow, Infectious
Diseases Society of America and former member of
the editorial board of the Journal of Infectious Diseases.
- Roberto P. Stock, PhD. Research Scientist
Instituto de Biotecnologia-UNAM, Mexico.
- Jean Umber, Professeur agrege (Organic
Chemistry), Academie de Nancy-Metz, Lorraine, France.
- Rudolf Werner, Professor, Dept. of Biochemistry
& Molecular Biology Univ. of Miami School of Medicine.
- Chun Xu, MD, PhD, VP Global Clinical Services,
Venturepharm Lab. Beijing, China.
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Continuous Production of Cytopathic Retroviruses
(HTLV-III) from Patients with AIDS and Pre-AIDS.
Science. 1984 May 4; 224: 497-500.
 Sarngadharan MG et al. Antibodies Reactive
with Human TLymphotropic Retroviruses (HTLV-III
in the Serum of Patients with AIDS). Science. 1984 May 4; 224: 506-8.
 Gallo RC et al. Frequent Detection and
Isolation of Cytopathic Retroviruses (HTLV-III)
from Patients with AIDS and at Risk for AIDS. Science. 1984 May 4; 224: 500-3.
 Schupbach J et al. Serological Analysis of a
Subgroup of Human TLymphotropic Retroviruses
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 ""Offer of Proof", Office of Research
Integrity, US Department of Health and Human
Services, 1993. http://sciencefictions.net/pdfdocs/ori_op_part1.pdf,
 Staff Report. Subcommittee on Oversight and
Investigations. Dingell Committee on Energy and
Commerce, House of Representatives. 1994.
Archived at: http://healtoronto.com/gallodocs.html
 Draft of M. Popovic's May 4 1984 Science
 Letter from Dr. M. Gonda to Dr. M. Popovic
(cc R. Gallo). 1984 Mar 26.
 Gallo RC. Letter to Jun Minowada, MD. Personal Correspondence. 1984 Mar 29.