New Row Over Origin of AIDS Virus

Does fresh evidence prove western researchers unleashed HIV by experimenting on chimps in Africa?

Guardian (UK), Tuesday 12 September 2000

James Meek, science correspondent

The disturbing and fiercely disputed theory that the Aids virus was unleashed accidentally by western medical researchers in Africa in the 1950s gained new impetus yesterday, with the emergence of fresh witness testimony about the use of chimpanzees in an African mass vaccination trial.

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Tests Fail to Support Theory on AIDS and Role of Chimpanzees and Vaccine

By Lawrence K. Altman, The New York Times, September 12, 2000

© 2000 The New York Times Company

Tests have failed to support a theory that the worldwide AIDS epidemic was touched off because an experimental oral polio vaccine used in Africa more than 40 years ago was made from chimpanzee tissue, scientists reported yesterday in London.

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Tests Fail to Link AIDS Spread, Polio Vaccine

AIDS:Tests Fail to Link AIDS Spread, Polio Vaccine

Facts on File World News Digest, September 11, 2000

© 2000 Facts on File, Inc.

Claudio Basilico of the New York University School of Medicine September 11 released the results of a study that had failed to link the 1950s distribution of a polio vaccine in Africa to the beginning of the spread of AIDS. The announcement was made at the Royal Society, a London research organization. The link had been suggested most recently by a 1999 book by British journalist Edward Hooper, entitled The River, which posited that the vaccine had been cultivated using tissue from chimpanzees, the animal in which many scientists believed the AIDS virus had originated.

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Book on AIDS Raises Tempest

SCIENTISTS GATHER, CONSIDER IF A POLIO RESEARCHER BROUGHT THE DISEASE TO HUMANS IN THE 1950S WITH VACCINE HE MADE FROM INFECTED CHIMP TISSUE

Huntly Collins, Contra Costa Times (California), September 10, 2000

© 2000 Contra Costa Times

Was a monumental effort to conquer polio, once the leading cause of physical disability, responsible for unleashing the world AIDS pandemic, which has stricken 53 million people, most of them in Africa?

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Scientists to Debate Whether Polio Trial Triggered AIDS Epidemic

By Huntly Collins, The Philadelphia Inquirer, September 10, 2000

© 2000 Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service

Was a monumental effort to conquer polio, once the leading cause of physical disability, responsible for unleashing the world AIDS pandemic, which has stricken 53 million people, most of them in Africa?

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The Accused

THE CHARGE: That what became the Aids virus was passed from chimp to man during experiments in the Congo to find a cure for polio. THE JURY: The world’s leading Aids scientists, gathering in London next week to hear evidence at the Royal Society. THE VERDICT: will once and for all clear up one of medicine’s greatest mysteries.

By Steve Connor

The Independent (London), 8 September 2000, Friday Review p. 1.

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The Origin of AIDS

A posh London conference tackles the Polio vaccine controversy.

Newsweek, September 6, 2000, Newsweek Web Exclusive © 2000 Newsweek

Medical conferences are fairly predictable affairs: a lot of hypotheses, an onslaught of data and, for the most part, congeniality-at least outwardly. But last week’s gathering on the origin of AIDS at London’s posh Royal Society-complete with afternoon tea-took on the excited and at times contentious tenor of a courtroom trial. On one side, Edward Hooper, author of “The River: A Journey to the Source of HIV and AIDS,” who believes that the virus was most likely introduced into humans through an experimental polio vaccine given in Africa in the late 1950s. On the other, scientists Hilary Koprowski and Stanley Plotkin who created the vaccine at Philadelphia’s Wistar Institute. Hooper’s presence as a non-scientist amidst hundreds of medical experts was remarkable, but the gravest implication of the theory is impossible to ignore: scientific culpability for a plague that has killed 18 million worldwide. “He deserves,” says one of the conference organizers, “a hearing.”

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