Gallo's Research Anthology -The AIDS Buck and Virus Stops Here
EARLY the next morning, I made my way to Countway's Cumulated Index Medicus to look up all of Gallo's early work. I started my search in 1965, figuring it would have taken him at least five years to establish himself as an expert in the field of retrovirology by 1970. The 1965 and 1966 year-books cited nothing of Gallo's efforts, but 1967 held two such references in what became a long list of Gallo publications.
By days end, I held a stack of nearly forty research reports published by Gallo and coworkers before 1975. It took me about two weeks of reading, with frequent referencing of medical texts for explanations to technical information that I found difficult to understand. My earlier lessons in biochemistry, cell physiology, genetics, and virology all needed refreshing. With my head buried in scientific literature, I saw very little of my family those weeks.
I began my review of Gallo's papers by organizing them chronologically. I read each paper, highlighted important details in yellow, then noted the purpose, conclusions, and potential relevance to the development of AIDS-like viruses. In the end, I held six pages of tables summarizing the data (see fig. 6.8).
Introduction to Retrovirology
A fundamental understanding of what HIV is and how it works is required before discussing the development of AIDS-like viruses by Gallo and his coworkers. The AIDS virus is an extremely unique germ. Most astonishing is that it incorporates elements that cause normal white blood cells (WBCs) to produce more viruses through a somewhat unnatural and uniquely backward process. One of HIV's main components is a single chain of genetic material.
This single strand is called RNA, short for ribonucleic acid. It comprises sugars combined with chemical (molecular) rings called purines and pyrimidines (see fig. 6.2). After the virus gets into a T4lymphocyte or CD4 helper cell (a type of WBC), its RNA genetic code directs the blood cell to produce a similar nucleic acid chain called DNA, short for deoxyribonucleic acid. DNA is the genetic blueprint all cells use to reproduce normally. DNA directs the manufacture of all new proteins and other cell parts, including RNA.
In the case of an RNA retrovirus infection, however, this natural direction is commandeered to run in reverse. In this case, the viral RNA directs the manufacture of deadly foreign DNA, which then commands the cell's reproductive machinery to produce more viruses rather than healthy new cells. This switch in reproductive control is accomplished partly because RNA and DNA are very much alike. The only difference between them is the substitution of one sugar-linked molecule, called uracil in RNA, for another one, called thymine, in the DNA (see figs. 6.1 and 6.2).
As shown in fig. 6.3, AIDS viruses have a special attraction for T4 lymphocytes. These blood cells possess special magnet-like CD4 receptors. These attachments normally serve to detect and help destroy foreign invaders, called antigens, via a complex immunological defense system. These CD4 receptors bind to a portion of HIV's outer envelope known as the gp 120 antigen.
The CD4-gp 120 interaction allows the AIDS virus to be transported across the lymphocyte's protective outer membrane, and once inside the cell, the viral envelope opens releasing the unique RNA and special enzymes into the human cell.  Then, by means of the special reverse transcriptase enzyme-so named because it prompts the "reverse" process of copying DNA to RNA - the RNA code is copied to produce a new "proviral DNA" strand. This enzyme is technically called RNA-dependent DNA polymerase.
It directs the cell to produce a DNA gene sequence from the viral RNA template, the exact opposite of what normally occurs in the non-infected cell. This DNA provirus then enters the cell's nucleus where genetic materials are stored. Here the provirus is inserted into the host's normal gene sequence through the work of another unique enzyme known as viral endonuclease. The endonuclease enzyme functions like a pair of scissors. It cuts open the cell's normal DNA strand allowing the newly formed provirus to be inserted.
Later, during normal cell operation, the provirus directs new viral proteins to be produced, which eventually bud off the cell forming new viruses.  This is the theory Gallo advanced first in 1972 during the "war on cancer" in order to explain retrovirus related cancers such as lymphoma, leukaemia, and sarcoma.
Twelve years later, he advanced the same theory to explain AIDS.
Gallo's Cancerous Creations
In 1971, the year following the $10 million DOD appropriation for the development of AIDS-like viruses the NCI acquired the lion's share of the Fort Detrick facilities, and the Cell Tumor Biology Laboratory's output increased as measured by the publication of eight scientific articles by Gallo and his coworkers compared to at most four in previous years.
Among Gallo's earliest reports was the discovery that by adding a synthetic RNA and cat leukaemia virus "template" to "human type C" viruses - those associated with cancers of the lymph nodes - the rate of DNA production (and subsequent provirus and virus reproduction) increased as much as thirty times. Gallo and company reported that such a virus may cause many cancers besides leukaemias and lymphomas, including sarcomas. 
Regarding Gallo's widely accepted 1983 speculation that the AIDS virus arose from an African monkey virus that naturally jumped species and then was carried by Portuguese seamen to Japan (see fig. 6.4), in 1971 he and his team published a seemingly conflicting statement.
At the time, simian foamy viruses were known to be common, humanly benign, vaccine contaminants. Had the simian virus simply jumped species then, I considered, it is doubtful it would have gained the cancer-causing capabilities seen in AIDS. Additional mutations would have been needed to make it so carcinogenic.
Gallo and company, including frequent coauthor Robert Ting from Litton Bionetics, reported modifying simian monkey* viruses by infusing them with cat leukaemia RNA to make them cause cancers as seen in people with AIDS (see fig. 6.5). [9,10]
[* The word "simian" before monkey, introduced by the mass media, is actually redundant. Since most people now associate the two, however, particularly in connection with the origin of the AIDS virus, the phrase "simian monkey" will be used in this book to mean just "monkey."]
Furthermore, Gallo and his coworker Seitoku Fujioka concluded from studies conducted in late 1969 or early 1970 that they would need to further "evaluate the functional significance of tRNA changes in tumor cells." To do this, they designed an experiment in which "specific tumor cell tRNAs" were "added directly to normal cells."
They explained that one way of doing this was to use viruses to deliver the foreign cancer producing tRNA to the nonnal cells. The viruses that they used for this purpose, were the simian monkey virus (SV 40) and the mouse parotid tumor (polyoma) virus.  These experiments, I realized, could have easily established the technology for the development of HIV-allegedly of simian virus descent - which similarly delivers reverse transcriptase and a foreign cat leukemia/sarcoma-like RNA to nonnal human white blood cells.
Obvious Link to NATO
That same year, Gallo and his coworkers presented research describing the experimental entry of bacterial RNA into human WBCs before a special symposium sponsored by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)? The paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences discussed several possible mechanisms prompting the "entry of foreign nucleic acids" into lymphocytes.
I flashed back to my knowledge of the controversial symposium on the entry and control of foreign nucleic acids, held on April 4 and 5, 1969, at Fort Detrick, and noted Gallo's link to this work. Here was documented evidence that senior investigator Robert Gallo presented the methods and materials used to produce AIDS-like viruses before NATO military scientists at "the NATO International Symposium on Uptake of Infonnative Molecules by Living Cells" in Mol, Belgium, in 1970. 
I sat stunned while reading that Gallo and his coworkers had also published studies identifying
A subsequent study published in 1970 by Gallo and his colleagues identified RNA-dependent DNA polymerase. Gallo's team noted that this enzyme was responsible for gene amplification and biochemical cyto-differentiation (the development of unique WBC characteristics including cancer cell production) and leukaemogenesis (the production of leukemia). 
Another of their studies identified L-Asparaginase synthetase - an important enzyme that, if blocked, will cause treatment- resistant leukemias and other cancers.  Just what the DOD ordered, I recalled,
Creating More AIDSLike Viruses
By 1972, Gallo and coworkers studied portions of simian monkey and mouse salivary gland tumor viruses to determine differences in RNA activity between infected versus uninfected cancer cells. 
The group was trying to determine the importance of various viral genes on the development of human cancers and immune system collapse. They reported their desire to use this information to find a cure for cancer, but at this time their activity was more focused on creating various cancers and carcinogenic viruses that could infect humans. [9-11]
From this work, I also realized, Gallo was actually cloning simian monkey viruses as early as 1970. So allegations that he had cloned Montagnier's virus were buffeted by the fact that he had over a decade of practice in the procedure. Another example of Gallo's work in creating new viruses to cause cancer in humans was published for the benefit of the NAS. Here Gallo and company examined the activity of the special AIDS-linked DNA polymerase enzyme in normal versus acute immature leukaemic lymph cells, that is, lymphoblasts.
To do so, they evaluated the single stranded "70S RNA retrovirus" found in chickens, which caused prominent features of AIDS, including WBC dysfunction, sarcomas, progressive wasting, and death (see fig. 6.5).  Gallo and his team injected this chicken virus RNA into human WBCs to determine if the cells were prompted to produce proteins and new viruses called for by the viral RNA.13
Another Gallo team evaluated the human cancer-causing effects of the single-stranded 70S RNA reverse transcriptase enzyme-a genetic catalyst essentially identical to the one found in HIV. They used cat leukemia viruses (FELV) and Mason-Pfizer monkey viruses to deliver these carcinogens to normal human lymphocytes.  I instantly realized that this work foreshadowed the observation made ten years later by the CDC's chief AIDS researcher, Don Francis, who noted the "laundry list" of feline leukemia-like diseases associated with AIDS. 
Had Francis known about this early work? I considered it most conceivable that he would have. Other Gallo publications detailed the steps involved in creating immune-system-destroying-cancer-causing viruses by adapting monkey, rat, and bird leukemia and tumor viruses for experimental use in a human (NC-37) cell line. 16
One Gallo team discussed the synthesis of new RNA tumor viruses induced by 5-iodo-2'-deoxyuridine (IdU), a constituent of RNA in rodent cell cultures, and noted that chemical treatment might be used to halt the reverse transcriptase-linked viral reproduction cycle.  They were apparently looking for a cure for AIDS-like symptoms as early as 1972. Then I read a Gallo team discussion in 1973, which concerned the origin of the RD 114 cat-human virus. "It can always be argued," they wrote, that a virus that jumped species would be expected to have foreign protein markers, that is, antigens, that differ "from the antigen found on the viruses of known" origin. 
So if Gallo and his coworkers had synthesized HIV for military or medical purposes from various animal virus components, I realized, it would be difficult if not impossible to prove. Finally, in another report published in the 'Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,' Gallo and associates proclaimed they had isolated a virus-like particle from human acute, that is, quick-acting, leukemic WBCs.
This particle, they noted, has a specific density of 1.16-1.17 g/ml, which allowed it to be repeatedly recovered without being destroyed by physical handling. Moreover, it was capable of producing the principal rapidly growing cancers seen in AIDS, including leukemias, sarcomas, and carcinomas.  In conclusion, I learned that Gallo and his group of researchers created numerous AIDS-like viruses for more than a decade before Luc Montagnier announced the discovery of LA V.
Links to the DOD
Throughout my review of Gallo's research, besides citing the NCI as his chief source of support, the names Bionetics, Bionetics Research Laboratories, and Litton Bionetics, Inc., repeatedly appeared (see fig. 6.6). For days, I wondered who or what Bionetics was?
This mystery ended when I retraced Ted Strecker's steps through the Ninety-first Congress's House hearings on DOD appropriations for 1970. The Congressional Record contained several sections dealing with chemical and biological weapons funding. One contained the list of major Army contractors shown in fig. 6.7. Bionetics Research Laboratories, a subsidiary of Litton Industries, Inc. was sixth on the list of acknowledged biological weapons contractors. 
Later congressional records showed that Bionetics's affiliate - Litton Systems, Inc., a subsidiary of Litton Industries, Inc. - was among the most frequently contracted companies involved in BW research and development between 1960 and 1970.20
Additional BW contractors with whom Dr. Gallo or his coworkers associated during the late 1960s and early 1970s included the Universities of Chicago, Texas, Virginia, California, Yale, and New York. 
Breaking the News
I emerged from my two weeks of laborious isolation noticeably pale. My mind raced with questions about the risk of continuing the investigation. I also wondered how I would break the whole truth about my findings to Jackie. The pragmatist in our family, she would immediately consider the sensitivity of the information and its potential affect on our lives.
Following a brief summation of my findings aided by the six pages of tables I had developed (see fig. 6.8), Jackie shattered a long and anxious silence.
Choice and Preparation of Cells
RNA dependent DNA Polymerase Activity
[One of dozens of publications authored by Robert C. Gallo and colleagues affiliated with Bionetics Research Laboratories, Bionetics, or Litton Bionetics. These subsidiaries of Litton Industries, Inc. were listed among most frequently contracted companies involved in biological weapons research and development during the 1960s and 1970s. [20,21]
Source: Gallo RC, Yang SS and Ting RC. RNA Dependent DNA Polymerase of Human Acute Leukaemic Cells. Nature 1970; 228:927.]