Of Chimps and Men

Letter to the editor about The River: A Journey to the Source of HIV and AIDS

Science, 14 January 2000, Volume 287, p. 233

Stanley A. Plotkin and Hilary Koprowski say in their letter (Science’s Compass, 24 Dec., p. 2450) that in my book, The River: A Journey to the Source of HIV and AIDS (Little, Brown, 1999), I suggest that they “covertly used chimpanzee cells to produce the live oral polio vaccine (OPV) that was used in the first mass campaign with OPV in the former Belgian Congo.”

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Letter to Star-Ledger

Letter concerning The River: A Journey to the Source of HIV and AIDS

Submitted to the Star-Ledger (Newark, New Jersey)

Dear sir,

As author of “The River – a Journey to the Source of HIV and AIDS” [Little, Brown, 1999], I would like to make a few comments about, and corrections to, Carol Ann Campbell’s otherwise excellent article “AIDS Jersey Roots Explored”, published on December 26, 1999.

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Searching for the Origin of AIDS

Review of The River: A Journey Back to the Source of HIV and AIDS, by Edward Hooper, Harmondsworth: Penguin/Boston: Little, Brown, 1999, 1070+xxxiii pages, £25/$35.

Science as Culture, Vol. 9, No. 1, 2000, pp. 109-113.

This book is a scientific blockbuster about the origin of AIDS. It is in the great tradition of scientific detective stories except that, instead of reconstructing a scientist’s discovery, it is a process of scientific discovery itself. It is also a pathbreaking endeavour in integrative investigation, cutting across the usual disciplines and involving everything from molecular biology to subtle interviewing strategies. Finally, it is intensely engaging to read.

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The End of Aetiology

Copyright 1999 The New Republic, Inc.
The New Republic

The River: A Journey to the Source of HIV and AIDS
by Edward Hooper
(Little, Brown, 1070 pp., $35)

Virus
by Luc Montagnier
(W.W. Norton & Company, 249 pp., $24.95)

Jerome Groopman is the Recanati Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. His new book, Second Opinions: Stories of Intuition and Choice in the Changing World of Medicine, will be published by Viking next spring.
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AIDS’ Jersey Roots Explored

Virus evolved from Clinton prison polio vaccine, author contends

Star-Ledger Staff

[Article about Edward Hooper’s book The River: A Journey to the Source of HIV and AIDS]

Star-Ledger (Newark, New Jersey), 26 December 1999

Patient No. 6 baffled James Oleske.

The pediatrician couldn’t understand the little girl’s mysterious symptoms, such as sepsis, and a rare pneumonia he had never seen before. For some unknown reason, the child’s immune system was failing to protect her from these strange infections.

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Letter to Science

Letter to the editor about The River: A Journey to the Source of HIV and AIDS

Science, 24 December 1999, Volume 286, page 2449

Responding to The River

In the book The River: A Journey to the Source of HIV and AIDS (Little, Brown, 1999), author Edward Hooper suggests that we covertly used chimpanzee cells to produce the live oral polio vaccine (OPV) that was used in the first mass campaign with OPV in the former Belgian Congo. Hooper postulated that the cells contained a simian immunodeficiency virus that later mutated to human immunodeficiency virus.

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Lessons Sought in the Origin of AIDS

(Review of The River: A Journey to the Source of HIV and AIDS)

Writer says the disease may have jumped from chimps to humans via an experimental polio vaccine–and he warns that cross-species transplants could likewise backfire. But the man who led the African inoculation research calls the theory outrageous, and the scientific community has expressed little interest.

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Laying Blame for HIV

New book charges 1950s polio vaccine spread AIDS in Africa

[Commentary on The River: A Journey to the Source of HIV and AIDS]

Laurie Garrett, Staff Writer

 Newsday, Tuesday 14 December 1999

EVER SINCE the AIDS epidemic began, it has sparked conspiracy theories. The latest, reincarnated from an idea forwarded in 1992, asserts that African polio vaccines of the 1950s were contaminated with the animal version of HIV and that a subsequent cover-up has hidden the evidence.

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New York Times Hooper Response

Edward Hooper’s 12 December 1999 letter to the New York Times about The River: A Journey to the Source of HIV and AIDS

Response to Plotkin and Koprowski’s letter to the New York Times ; sent 12 December 1999. Publication status unknown.

To the Editor,

In their letter of Dec. 7 (“Challenging a Theory”), doctors Stanley Plotkin and Hilary Koprowski “state categorically that no chimpanzee tissues were used by us for polio vaccine production”. In so doing, they clearly hope to refute the central hypothesis of my book, “The River”, that the administration of an experimental polio vaccine, CHAT, in central Africa in 1957-1960 may represent the occasion when the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) of the chimpanzee entered humans, and began adapting to become HIV-1, thus sparking the AIDS pandemic. Continue reading “New York Times Hooper Response”

New York Times Letter (1)

Challenging a Theory
To the Editor:

The Doctor’s World column “New Book Challenges Theories of AIDS Origin” on Nov. 30 describes the hypothesis that H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS, was initially transmitted to humans during the first large-scale trials of oral polio vaccine in what was then the Belgian Congo. Although we are not named in the article, it is common knowledge in the scientific community that we conducted those trials. The hypothesis is based on the suggestion in a recently published book that we used chimpanzee cells to prepare the vaccine, and that these cells were, unknown to us, contaminated with a precursor of the human AIDS virus.

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