A cause for celebration: the eradication of wild poliovirus from Africa.

In these difficult and ill-starred days it is always good to have something genuine to celebrate, and the announcement earlier this week that wild poliovirus has been eradicated from Africa is definitely an event worthy of celebration.   On the face of it, this leaves just Pakistan and Afghanistan to go before the global eradication of polio can be announced. However, it is not quite that simple, because the fact that wild polioviruses have been eradicated from Africa does not mean that all polioviruses have been expunged from the continent. 

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An introduction to Lochlann Jain’s article about the OPV/AIDS hypothesis, and its treatment at the Royal Society meeting on the “Origins of HIV and the AIDS Epidemic”.

S. Lochlann Jain is a Canadian Professor of Anthropology based at Stanford in California, and a Professor of Social Medicine at King’s College, London.  In 2013 she published a nicely-titled book called “Malignant: How Cancer Becomes Us” [Berkeley: University of California Press], based on her own experiences with breast cancer.  The book was well-received and won several awards. 

In 2017 Lochlann approached me for an interview: she was interested in writing a book about the Royal Society [RS] meeting in 2000 on the “Origins of HIV and the AIDS epidemic”.  She explained that she had read Brian Martin’s writings on the subject such as “The Politics of a Scientific Meeting”, but was interested in another aspect, namely “why it was so seemingly easy to dismiss the detailed well-conceived challenge you made to science/virology” at the London meeting.   That December Lochlann came to visit me at my home, and we spent 24 hours in quite extensive conversation.   She also interviewed certain other contributors to the meeting, notably Hilary Koprowski’s former deputy, the vaccinologist Stanley Plotkin, the co-organiser of the meeting, virologist Robin Weiss, and another virologist, Preston Marx.

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Welcome to the New AIDS Origins Site

Welcome to the new AIDS Origins site: May 18th, 2020

First of all, let me offer my sincere thanks to the Webmaster for yet again reorganising this site. This has taken a great deal of work, all of which has been done in his own time, and without any financial recompense. The reorganisation has necessitated the site being down for a short time, and we apologise to those readers who may have been inconvenienced. The benefits of the new system include a new, clear design, a simplified and far more accessible layout of articles, a better search mechanism within the site, and a direct link to the full-length (91 minute) YouTube version of the documentary film “The Origins of AIDS”, which was originally released in 2003.

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COVID-19 and the Origins of AIDS Debate

Abstract

There is much to be gained from learning how new diseases emerge.  This applies to the origins of the AIDS pandemic, which has now killed over 50 million people globally.  I (and to my knowledge many scientists) believe that a full and convincing explanation of how AIDS began has still not been provided by the scientific community, despite claims to the contrary by many prominent figures.  The COVID-19 pandemic is even more worrying in its potential impact on global health, and so there is even more need for a prompt and open-minded investigation into its origin.

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A New HIV-1 Sample from 1966

Just this evening I received a heads-up from an American professor about an on-line article announcing a new piece of work by Michael Worobey, a key member of the “bushmeat school”. This is a group of scientists who believe that the “AIDS virus”, pandemic HIV-1, transferred to humans a hundred or so years ago, when a human was infected with the nearest ancestral virus to HIV-1 (the simian immunodeficiency virus, or SIV, of the common chimpanzee) in south-eastern Cameroon.

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An Interesting Question

A man recently wrote in to this web-site to ask me an interesting question: why was it that I was still writing about the origins of AIDS? He reasoned that for most people (at least in the West) AIDS is now a treatable disease; most of the people who were involved with the CHAT oral polio vaccine in the 1950s are now dead, and in any case it is unlikely that my theory of origin will ever be definitively proved as true. Under these circumstances, why keep going? Was it just in order to apportion blame?

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Tom Curtis

It is with great regret that I have learnt through one of the subscribers to this site of the death of the American journalist Tom Curtis on January 22nd, 2017. Below is the notice that appeared on his Facebook page.

“To all friends of Tom Curtis.

Tom passed away peacefully at noon today after a many-years-long struggle with Parkinson’s disease. He will be sorely missed by the many who knew him and worked with him over the past 70+ years. There will be a gathering at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 502 Church Rear Street, Galveston, TX on January 29 at 10:30 a.m. According to my sources, everyone who knew or admired Tom would be welcome to attend.”
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“A Dog’s Breakfast”: Michael Worobey’s New Paper Seeks to “Exonerate” Patient Zero

A new paper from the team of the University of Arizona molecular biologist, Michael Worobey, has just been published in Nature, to the usual fanfare of publicity. It seeks to demonstrate that the Canadian air steward, Gaetan Dugas, was not responsible for seeding the AIDS epidemic in the United States.

To those who have spent any time examining the history of AIDS, this is hardly new news. However, it is a plausible peg on which to hang an article in an attempt to render it newsworthy.

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Wikipedia’s Strange Certainty

Some weeks ago I heard disturbing rumours of new activity on Wikipedia regarding my work and that of Brian Martin. I asked Robert Dildine, who has previously done excellent work in this and similar areas, to investigate, and he has produced the following piece, which I commend to our readership.

Ed Hooper 16th May, 2016

The Origins of AIDS: A December 2015 Update

Dear Readers,

Many thanks to all those who continue to write in to this web-site with their support and encouragement, and sometimes with fresh information as well.  All such messages are greatly appreciated.    It’s immensely reassuring that I can only recall one or two unsympathetic messages among the thousands received since we started this site 11 years ago.

I have been silent on this topic for some time.  At the request of several readers, let me provide a quick update as of December 2015.

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