Infected does not mean Infectious

EIA Politics

Many people have asked me this question: "If there are better methods of dealing with this disease, why do our governments continue to support such a primitive disease control program?

Hopefully the following quotes and excerpts will shed some light on the political nature of the Coggins test and our current regulatory policies. (It is an accepted fact that since the U.S. is Canada's major trading partner and because of the necessity of reasonably unrestricted movement of horses across the international boundary, Canada is prepared to accept whatever policy the U.S. adopts for the control of this disease.)

In a letter dated September 1998, Dr. Stewart McConnell states;

"The control of EIA rather than its eradication has been a losing battle for a long time.I can only assume that big money is at the root of our programs in effect at this moment.

"There are many horses that are AGID (Coggins) positive yet are not viremic as indicated by the siderocyte test and if my reading and interpretation of current literature is correct, also by the lack of reverse transcriptase (Rtase) in blood of EIA positive horses.A recent article published from the group at North Carolina Veterinary College compares the levels of Rtase in AGID positive (asymptomatic) horses versus experimentally infected horses.As I remember the article, AGID positive horses, some infected 9 years earlier, were negative for Rtase in blood byproducts.This suggests that no circulating EIA virus was present therefor no transmission would occur, via the insect bite or via the "dirty needle syndrome".

"Why is it that of all the lentivirus infections of man and animal, ONLY EIA is quarantinable and subject to test and slaughter techniques?EIAV does not infect other animal species including man.Neither does feline immunodiffiency virus (FIV), bovine (BIV), simian (SIV), human (HIV), or the sheep and goat viruses.All the lentiviruses cause diseases and death in animals infected, but none are treated with heavy hand of Government except EIA.

"If we could get the politics out of disease control, we could solve the problems faster and cheaper.We would also have better cooperation from all segments of the industry."

The following are excerpts from a letter written by Dr. Roger Lloyd of Florida to Senator Edward M. Kennedy dated Sept. 3, 1998:

"There is and has been a "behind the scenes" struggle going on in this country.As you know, most scientific research is above board, straight forward and open to public scrutiny.The one that I refer to here has clearly not taken the "high road". Perhaps by design, neglect, or even some clandestine de-advertising, this project has repeatedly fallen through the cracks.

"Our multi-agency inflexible government has stalled the process, challenged the credibility, tried on two occasions to quietly hire the Chinese originators and secure the vaccine for sequencing without proper patent protection or scientific recognition.There has been detracting agency in-fighting, poor scientific leadership at our highest levels in the NIH and NIAID, and finally a strange unwarranted security cloak was imposed.

"The western world's attempt at cloning, sequencing and molecular manipulation of retroviruses has been at best an expensive disappointment.I am sure Senator Kennedy you are aware that the U.S. alone has spent decades of years and billions of dollars attempting to produce effective vaccines for the lentiviruses EIA, FIV, SIV, and HIV.Neither talent nor money has been spared in this endeavor.Today, late in 1998, except for The Peoples Republic of China EIA vaccine, we have not succeeded.We need to examine the vaccine and determine what makes it effective."

The following statements come from the American Chinese Veterinary Medical Frontiers, Inc. report issued in April of 1999:

"EIA is not just another animal disease, but has a huge background of intrigue, politics, New York society, state and national government involvement.EIA can also serve as a significant bridge for international scientific relations with China joining together with America to solve the problems of AIDS and EIA, including civilian and military scientific participation.This program should have been implemented in 1983, not 1999.What a tragic waste of human and animal lives, where health and quality of life should have had first priority over personal agendas.

"In 1972 Dr. Leroy Coggins who was on the faculty of Cornell University, School of Veterinary Medicine at that time, reported on a diagnostic test for EIA.It is an immunological test which is an immunodiffusion test, a test for antibody in the blood.The test was accepted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as the official USDA diagnostic test for EIA, and become nationally and internationally known as the "Coggins Test".

"A huge controversy developed in the United States once this test became national and state regulatory policy, since the test detected many horses that were asymptomatic and not showing any signs of disease.This created serious powerful reactions against the policy by horse owners throughout the country since a test and slaughter or a test and isolation policy for all horses including pet horses such as 4-H horses was not an easy policy for horse owners to accept.This program has become a significant financial benefit for those who participate in the controlled testing of these horses.

"It is tragic that thousands of horses have been killed or isolated in the United States and other parts of the world creating serious emotional and financial losses to the horse owners since there was a very real alternative by collaborating with China to control the disease nationally and internationally by a vaccination program rather than death being the ultimate segregation tool.It is unfortunate that the Coggins test resulted in this method of control.

"These horses should not have been sacrificed, since we have the capability of biologically cloning the live attenuated EIA vaccine to bring it to the standards of modern molecular biology. The scientists knew that fact years ago, but ego, jealousy, fame, and money seemed to have a greater priority.The EIA testing and slaughter program in the United States is a huge multi-million dollar industry.

"From 1983 to 1993, it was almost impossible to raise funds and support for this EIA project especially with such a background of criticism and influence that occurred in the United States.Furthermore, the emphasis was on genetically engineered vaccines for AIDS and there seemed little interest to focus upon a live attenuated vaccine that was reported to the world in 1983, and to the critics; horses, veterinarians, and Chinese scientists did not give the image of cutting edge technology.The insiders and the scientific policy makers failed to understand that creativity and imagination can solve problems that even the most costly and technical equipment cannot solve if the concomitant problems and challenges are not included in the evaluation.Ē

We are including here a link to the American Veterinary Medical Frontiers, Inc. web site. This is the privately owned EIA research facility in Massachusetts, operated by Dr. Robert Tashjian, a scientist with more than 40 years of EIA research experience and definitely one of the leading experts on the subject of EIAV infections and EIAV immunities. Please take the time to follow the links near the bottom of the home page to learn what has taken place there during the past two years. It appears to us that the decisions made in the case of the ponies Prince and Nora were based on what we would have to consider to be politics rather than science.

The link is http://www.vetfrontiers.orgPerhaps this isnít close to where you live, but decisions like this could eventually affect all of us.

Note: In the interest of conserving space, we will not go any further at this time but this bit is probably enough to indicate to most people that there are some aspects of this disease control program that are not necessarily based on scientific fact.It appears that the only way that we can be sure to get a modern vaccination program for EIA in our horses and also for HIV in our families is if the general public will insist to our governments that we will settle for nothing less.