Disease Progression Despite Antibodies
It has been argued that HIV cannot cause AIDS because the body develops HIV-specific antibodies following primary infection (Duesberg, 1992). This reasoning ignores numerous examples of viruses other than HIV that can be pathogenic after evidence of immunity appears (Oldstone, 1989). Primary poliovirus infection is a classic example of a disease in which high titers of neutralizing antibodies develop in all infected individuals, yet a small percentage of individuals develop subsequent paralysis (Kurth, 1990). Measles virus may persist for years in brain cells, eventually causing a chronic neurological disease despite the presence of antibodies (Gershon, 1990). Viruses such as cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex and varicella zoster may be activated after years of latency even in the presence of abundant antibodies (Weiss and Jaffe, 1990). Lentiviruses with long and variable latency periods, such as visna virus in sheep, cause central nervous system damage even after the specific production of neutralizing antibodies (Haase, 1990). Furthermore, it is now well-documented that HIV can mutate rapidly to circumvent immunologic control of its replication.