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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