Smashwords Edition, License Notes

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Chapter Fourteen

I'd like to call Mr. Kato Yamashuri.”

Crawley is on his feet. In fact, he had never sat down after the Judge arrived for the afternoon session.

Your Honor, once again I rise to try to save this court hours of useless testimony by the plaintiffs. The defense will stipulate that HIV does not meet the criteria of Koch's Postulates.” He looks at Messick standing at the lectern. “Again, counselor, I assume that is where you're going with this witness, and perhaps many countless more witnesses after that.”

Crawley leaves his position behind the defense table and walks toward the jury.

Koch's Postulates are archaic, completely out of date, and useless in today's technology. The fact that HIV does not meet Koch's Postulates is irrelevant and immaterial to this case.”

Judge Watts interrupts him quickly.

What are you doing, Mr. Crawley? You know that this is not the time to try to make your case with the jury.”

Messick is pleased that Crawley got called on the carpet and was not allowed to continue, but is also a little concerned there may be other attempts to derail his presentation. It’s very important that he be allowed to follow his game plan. He decides to ask the Judge for help.

Your Honor, may we approach?”

Judge Watts nods and waves both attorneys to the sidebar.

Your Honor, it’s very kind of Mr. Crawley to acknowledge that the virus called HIV does not qualify as the cause of AIDS under Koch's Postulate Number One. However, there are three other postulates, and there is more to the testimony of my next witness. In fact, I have three witnesses whose testimony will also lay the groundwork for other witnesses later; and since Mr. Crawley is so hell-bent on not wasting time, I promise I will finish with all three in about an hour and a half.”

Mr. Messick, it's after two p.m. on a Friday afternoon. I will give you until three-thirty. And Mr. Crawley, I suggest you might want to cross-examine one or two of these witnesses if you want to make any points with the jury, because I'm sure as hell not going to let you get away with grandstanding again.”

Thank you, Your Honor.” As the lawyers return to their respective tables, Messick once again calls Mr. Kato Yamashuri to the witness stand.

Sarah looks over the copy of the list of plaintiffs she got from the Clerk’s office, while Messick goes through the normal procedure required with every new witness. She’s surprised and pleased to find that one of the plaintiffs, a Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton Geddes, lives close by in Prescott, Arizona. She makes a note to pay them a visit as soon as possible. After all, it’s just a two-hour drive.

...and what was your occupation, Mr. Yamashuri, during the year 1983?”

I worked for the National Cancer Institute as a research technician.”

You worked for Dr. Gallo?” Messick points to the defendant’s table where Gallo is sitting.


Doing what?”

At that particular time, I was working on the project to reproduce the HIV in our lab.”

Only it wasn't called HIV at that time, was it?”

No, it wasn't. To be honest, it had three different names at different times. It was called ‘LAV,’ ‘MOV,’ and ‘HTLV-3’ or ‘3B’ before it became known as ‘HIV.’"

Why ‘LAV?’ What does that stand for?”

It stands for ‘lymphadenopathy-associated virus,’ and the LAV virus itself was sent to us by a Dr. Louis Moreau from France because he...”

Mr. Yamashuri….” Messick wants to hold off on that testimony right now and is sorry he asked the question. But Yamashuri had opened the door and Messick felt he better have those terms explained to the jury right now. On second thought, better not, he decides. “I'd like to wait for Dr. Moreau himself to tell us that story, if you don't mind. But the point is that you were working on this LAV virus, later to be called HIV, trying to grow it in your lab?”


You're familiar with Koch's Postulates, Mr. Yamashuri?”

Of course.”

Were you working on a particular postulate with the LAV virus?”

Yes, Postulate Number Two.”

...where you have to be able to isolate the microbe that is supposedly causing a disease and reproduce it in your own lab?”


Why were you doing that?”

I don't understand your question. I thought I already answered that. Koch’s Postulate Number Two….”

The question is, if Dr. Gallo believed that Koch's Postulates are archaic and useless and should be ignored, why would he have you waste your time trying to grow the virus to prove Postulate Number Two?”

Yamashuri looks very confused. “Today was the first I ever heard of Dr. Gallo not believing in Koch’s Postulates. I can tell you that he definitely believed in them when I was working for him, because my entire job was based on them, and as far as I know, our entire lab followed them, or tried to.”

So you, at least, thought you were trying to prove whether this virus you were working with was in fact the cause of AIDS by proving Postulate Number Two and growing it in your lab?”


So, at least at that time, you believed in Koch's Postulates as a valid set of criteria to determine whether or not you had the causal agent of a disease?”

Yes. And I still do.”


Sustained. Jury will disregard the last part of that answer.”

And were you working under the assumption that the rest of your team, and in fact the entire medical research community, were of the same belief?”


Judge Watts is very conscious of the time. “We get your point, Mr. Messick.”

Thank you, Your Honor. Mr. Yamashuri, at that time, did you ever hear anyone in your department, or in the National Cancer Institute, or for that matter the National Institutes of Health, make any reference to their belief that Koch's Postulates were irrelevant in determining the cause of an infectious disease?”

Simultaneously with Yamashuri saying, “No,” Judge Watts insists, “Move on, Mr. Messick.” She knew Messick was trying to counter Crawley’s outburst to the jury, and she wanted it stopped.

Yes, Your Honor.” Messick agrees with her – enough is enough. “Mr. Yamashuri, were you in fact successful in reproducing the virus we now call HIV in your lab?”

Yes, I was.”

Easily? From the start?”

Yamashuri hesitates, not knowing how to answer that question. Messick didn’t expect that particular question to be much of a problem.

Mr. Yamashuri?”

There was some controversy about that, Mr. Messick.”

What did I miss? Messick tries to decide how to approach this, since he doesn’t know what’s coming.

What controversy?”

Well…” Yamashuri looks over at Dr. Gallo at the defense table. “Yes, it was easy to grow the virus from the start.”

This is news to Messick, but not really that critical.

I thought you had some trouble and that it took you a long time, Mr. Yamashuri.”

That’s what Dr. Gallo wanted everyone to believe. When Dr. Pavlovich originally wrote his report, he said that we had no problem growing the virus. Dr. Gallo made him change his report to make it look like we had a lot of trouble.”

Oohhhh! Now something else makes a lot of sense. I’ll get to that in a minute.

How long did you tell the rest of the world that it took you to grow the virus?”

About eight months.”

I’m going to save my other questions about this controversy for another witness. So let me ask you this, Mr. Yamashuri, did it require a very special culture to make HIV grow, rather than any standard culture you had used in all previous testing?” Before Yamashuri had a chance to answer, Messick realizes he skipped a step. “Sorry, Mr. Yamashuri. Maybe we should define the word ‘culture’ first.”

Oh… well, a culture is a medium…,” Yamashuri is talking directly to the jury, searching for the simplest possible explanation, “…a place, usually in something like a small petri dish…” he holds one hand up, cupped as if he were presenting a shallow glass container, “…that serves a function almost like a food where we grow things under controlled circumstances for various kinds of experiments.”

Good. Thank you. And now, let me ask again. Did you need a very special culture to grow the HIV?”


Messick knew that Yamashuri didn’t know that it was a loaded question, about to get him in a lot of trouble.

What is that culture called?”


H9? Mr. Yamashuri, what is HUT78?”

Yamashuri squirms a bit in the witness chair. “That's another kind of culture.”

Isn't it true, Mr. Yamashuri, that H9 is simply the HUT78 culture, essentially stolen by Dr. Gallo and renamed to prevent anyone else from having access to this culture without his permission?”

Objection. This is pure speculation. ­Mr. Messick has not offered any proof for this allegation.”

Your Honor, I intend to offer proof, but not with this witness.”

Then bring it up later when you can back it up with testimony, Mr. Messick. You know better than that.”

Yes, Your Honor. I withdraw the question.” He turns back to the witness. “So, Mr. Yamashuri, you say that you were able to grow the HIV in this HUT78, I'm sorry, H9 culture.”


And in the process, did you ask for more samples of the virus to be sent from France?”


Why? If you were able to grow it in your own lab fairly easily right from the beginning, why did you ask France for more?”

Yamashuri certainly would not have agreed to testify if he had known Messick would ask about these things. He thought that Messick just wanted to know about growing HIV in the lab. Well, might as well tell the truth. It’s too late for anything else.

It was part of the charade. It made it look like we were having trouble and needed more sample. It also delayed anyone else from asking us for samples to run their own tests.”

I understand now. Thank you.”

Messick consults his legal pad. “Mr. Yamashuri, what was this H9 culture made of?”

Healthy T cells.”

Help me out, Mr. Yamashuri, because I get very confused at this point. ­This H9 culture, this is a culture of healthy T cells, you said?”

Yes, it is.”

And you grew the virus called HIV in this healthy T-cell culture? In fact, Mr. Yamashuri, you were able to prove that this virus, later called HIV, actually did meet Koch's Postulate Number Two, correct?”

Yamashuri relaxes a little, grateful to be back on the right topic and, in fact, applauded for his work.

Yes. Correct.”

You must have felt very proud.”

With more than a modicum of humility, Yamashuri said, “Yes, I did. I did my job. That always feels good.”

But, Mr. Yamashuri, what I don't understand is this: If the virus called HIV destroys the immune system of a healthy human being, how come it didn't destroy the T-cell culture itself?”

Yamashuri is shaken to the core, first, because his contribution to AIDS research is suddenly dubious, and secondly because he never asked that question himself. He was so focused on getting the HIV to grow that he lost his perspective and his objectivity as a scientist, and missed the most obvious question of all. Now all he can do is sit there, speechless. After a few seconds of silence, Messick continues.

How was this potent virus able to grow side by side with the very T cells it had to kill if indeed it caused AIDS?”

Still no answer.

Mr. Yamashuri, let me ask this question another way. ­If this virus called HIV causes AIDS, this virus must totally destroy the T-calls it finds in the human immune system. How could it possibly not have killed the T cells in the H9 culture?”

Crawley has had enough. “Objection. ­Badgering....”

Before Judge Watts can rule on the objection, Messick speaks up.

I'll withdraw the question, Your Honor. ­Actually, Mr. Yamashuri, I don't think you, or anyone else, can ever answer that question, and I have no further questions of this witness.”

Judge Watts doesn’t wait for Messick to sit down.

Mr. Crawley?” It was clear she expected him to take her advice and cross-examine this witness.

Realizing he’d better ask something to appease the Judge, Crawley moves to the lectern.

Mr. Yamashuri, you did in fact get HIV to grow and therefore you fulfilled Koch's Postulate Number Two?”

Yes. I said that I did.”

I have no further questions, Your Honor.”

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Smashwords Edition, License Notes iconSmashwords Edition Pamela Joan Barlow Smashwords Edition, License Notes This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may

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Smashwords Edition, License Notes iconSmashwords Edition, License Notes

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