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June 20, 1986

Clarifying electron micrograph labeling

JAMA. 1986;255(23):3212. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370230018005

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Two years ago, a JAMA news article on acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) was accompanied by three electron micrographs labeled HTLV-III—human T-cell lymphotropic virus (JAMA [MEDICAL NEWS] 1984;251:2901-2909). Provided by the National Cancer Institute, they are identical to those published originally by institute investigators headed by Robert C. Gallo, MD (Science 1984;224:503-505).

It now turns out that the electron micrographs are of a cell culture infected, not with HTLV-III, but with the lymphadenopathy-associated virus (LAV) isolated early in 1983 by Pasteur Institute investigators headed by Luc Montagnier, PhD. A specimen of the virus was sent to Gallo and his associates by the Paris group in September of that year.

Gallo and his associates could not get the lymphadenopathy-associated virus to grow in culture for more than a brief period. Nevertheless, they had electron micrographs made of such examples of viral replication as they were able to obtain in order to show