Nobel Prize winner and future O.J. Simpson trial DNA expert witness Kary B. Mullis spoke on campus April 6 in the Small Auditorium of the University Student Union on his hypothesis that HIV is not the cause AIDS.
This was the second consecutive day that Mullis spoke on campus. On April 5, he discussed the differences and similarities between law and science.
Although he did not clearly define it during his presentation, Mullis' hypothesis is that AIDS is not caused by HIV, but by several retroviruses.
Mullis said that if a person's immune system was infected by a large collection of dormant retroviruses and if that group of cells divide and multiply, the dormant retrovirus will be copied.
When a retrovirus is copied, possibly into a million copies, it breaks loose from the cells and leaks into the blood stream. From then on a chain reaction is created, Mullis said.
"Eventually there is going to come a time when a percentage of the population is going to have AIDS and not have had HIV," Mullis said.
Mullis said he does not believe that HIV alone is not the cause of AIDS because he has yet to see any papers or proof that actually link HIV and AIDS. He suggested that anyone who has any papers to support the hypotheses that HIV is linked to AIDS, to send him a copy.
A student in the audience asked Mullis if he was telling them to be skeptical of HIV being the cause of AIDS, why shouldn't people be skeptical of all retroviruses, including HIV.
Mullis' response was that the cause of AIDS might not even be a virus, and that he was examining it in a different way than it has been now.
Should Mullis' suggested hypothesis prove to be true, vaccine for AIDS would be impossible to develop. Because there would be so many viruses, that once a person tried to knock out one, another would take its place, he said.
Mullis also said there is a high rate of false positive-AIDS tests and that many people are dying from AZT, one of the most commonly used drugs for HIV and AIDS patients.
"The established AIDS research committee is incapable of realizing that they may be wrong," Mullis said.
Mullis also responded to questions asked of him about the O.J. Simpson trial, where he will be on the stand as a defense witness in a couple of months, and about the autobiography that he is currently writing.
Both speeches were sponsored by the College of Natural Science and Mathematics.