The recent Faria paper in Science: More flimsy AIDS origins speculations

Several people have recently asked (either via the AIDS Origins site or via on-line message boards) for my opinions on the latest article about dating the beginning of the AIDS epidemic to Leopoldville/KInshasa in 1920.

The article is called “The early spread and epidemic ignition of HIV-1 in human populations“, and though released earlier on-line, it was formally published in the October 5th, 2014 issue of Science; [2014; 346; 56-61]. Most of the article is consistent with the rest of the work by its authors: the mooted early history of HIV-1 is nothing more or less than computer-generated guesswork.

But the authors have had a major rethink about one of the previous problem areas in their work, and one crucial aspect of their analysis, though they do not advertise it, now aligns precisely with what I have been proposing for several years. In fact, it serves as another powerful confirmation of the OPV hypothesis. All this is explained in more detail in the notes below.
Continue reading “The recent Faria paper in Science: More flimsy AIDS origins speculations”

Nobel Prize-winner Lambasts Nature and Science

For many years I have been criticising Nature and Science for their biased mis-reporting and distortion of the Origins-of-AIDS debate.

Now a leading scientist – the latest winner of the Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine, the US biologist Randy Schekman – has come out in public to criticise these journals for distorting the scientific process, and for representing a tyranny that needs to be broken.

Continue reading “Nobel Prize-winner Lambasts Nature and Science”

“The Origins of AIDS” Documentary, 2003

Although versions of this multiple prize-winning film (which focuses on the OPV theory and the opposition it has encountered) have been available on and off on the Web for the last 10 years, the Canadian producers have made strenuous efforts to have any unofficial versions taken down. This would have been entirely reasonable had they made it easy to purchase the film documentary through other channels, but rather surprisingly they have not done so. No downloadable version was made available for purchase, and otherwise the film could only be bought from North America, via a quite complicated purchase procedure that ran through the National Film Board of Canada web-site. Moreover, at different times either the short (42-minute) or full-length (91-minute) versions of the film were unavailable for purchase. The reasons for the producers’ unwillingness to make the film more freely available are not known, but many have surmised that they may have come under external pressures. (The French co-producers took another approach, and in about 2005 quite suddenly refused to handle the film any more.)

Continue reading ““The Origins of AIDS” Documentary, 2003″

NYT Letter: Hilary Koprowski

Sent to the Letters page of the NYT on 22/4/2013, but not printed…

Letter to the editor: re “Hilary Koprowski, Who Developed First Live-Virus Polio Vaccine, Dies at 96”, by Margalit Fox; (4/20/13).


Margalit Fox’s obituary of Hilary Koprowski (April 20, 2013) claims the theory that his oral polio vaccine (OPV) sparked the AIDS pandemic has been “discredited”. This is untrue. In 2001 Belgian and Congolese ex-workers from the medical laboratory at Stanleyville, Belgian Congo, and the nearby chimpanzee facility at Lindi Camp, where 500 chimpanzees were sacrificed in 42 months, reported that chimpanzee kidneys and blood had been used in the late 1950s to prepare local batches of Koprowski’s OPV. Such batches were fed to one million Africans, but (unlike US-made batches) they were never tested for HIV-1. Similarly, the other claims allegedly “disproving” the OPV theory are based on faulty assertions and questionable hypotheses. The ancestral host to the immediate ancestor of HIV-1 is a chimpanzee subspecies (Pan troglodytes troglodytes, Ptt) that, it is alleged, was not found at Lindi Camp, but I have recently demonstrated that Ptt chimps were present there. The theoretical claim that HIV-1 first existed in 1908 is unsafe; it emanates from a mutation-based model which is inappropriate for lentiviruses, which evolve mainly through recombination. The earliest HIV-1 samples are from 1959 and 1960, and come from Leopoldville, Belgian Congo. Koprowski’s Congolese OPV trials began in 1957.

Edward Hooper

Hilary Koprowski: LA Times Obituary

Los Angeles Times

April 22, 2013 Monday
Home Edition

OBITUARIES; HILARY KOPROWSKI, 1916 – 2013; Researcher developed live-virus oral polio vaccine

Hilary Koprowski, a Polish-born researcher who developed the first successful oral vaccine for polio, has died. He was 96.

Koprowski died of pneumonia April 11 at his Philadelphia home, said his son, Dr. Christopher Koprowski, a radiation oncologist.

In 1950, Hilary Koprowski showed that it was possible to use his live-virus oral vaccine against polio, which had plagued the United States and other countries for decades.

Another researcher, Dr. Albert Sabin, would win the race to get an oral vaccine licensed in the U.S. while Jonas Salk would develop an injectable vaccine that eliminated much of the disease in the country.
The two other scientists were far better known for helping to eradicate polio, but Koprowski’s contribution was considered groundbreaking.

“Both Salk and Sabin became public figures, quite justifiably,” Koprowski told the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2000. “They traveled the world, meeting presidents and kings, whereas I got to continue my work. I believe this was a better way for me.”

Controversy often followed the feisty Koprowski. Continue reading “Hilary Koprowski: LA Times Obituary”

Hilary Koprowski: NY Times Obituary

The New York Times

April 21, 2013 Sunday

Hilary Koprowski Dies at 96; Developed First Live-Virus Polio Vaccine

Margalit Fox

It was a brew to rival any in ”Macbeth.” The main ingredients were rat brain and a fearsome, carefully cultivated virus.

In his laboratory in Pearl River, N.Y., 20 miles north of Manhattan, Dr. Hilary Koprowski macerated the ingredients in an ordinary kitchen blender one January day in 1948. He poured the result — thick, cold, gray and greasy — into a beaker, lifted it to his lips and drank. It tasted, he later said, like cod liver oil.

With that sip, Dr. Koprowski, a virologist who died on April 11 at 96, inoculated himself against polio, years before the vaccines of Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin.

Dr. Koprowski was one of the world’s foremost biomedical researchers, helping usher in a spate of innovations, including a safer, less painful and more effective rabies vaccine that remains widely used. Continue reading “Hilary Koprowski: NY Times Obituary”

Hilary Koprowski: The Independent Obituary

The Independent (London)

April 18, 2013 Thursday

Dr Hilary Koprowski; Virologist who developed the first oral vaccine against polio

Phil Davison

A Polish Jew who had fled the Nazi invasion and settled in the US, Hilary Koprowski developed the first oral vaccine against poliomyelitis, the infant paralysis which swept across North America, the British Isles and beyond in the postwar years, causing death or disability. To demonstrate faith in his research in 1948, he swallowed a cocktail including the ground-up brain of a rat which had been deliberately infected with the polio virus. He showed no ill-effects from the dose, which was still a “live” virus, though “attenuated” or reduced, then tested it on child inmates of an institution for the physically or mentally disabled in New York. Although it is almost inconceivable that such tests could be allowed today, they proved a medical success in that the children suffered no ill-effects.

Continue reading “Hilary Koprowski: The Independent Obituary”

Hilary Koprowski: The Daily Telegraph Obituary

The Daily Telegraph (London)

April 16, 2013 Tuesday

Hilary Koprowski; Virologist who pioneered the first successful oral vaccine against polio

HILARY KOPROWSKI, who has died aged 96, developed the first successful oral vaccine against polio, but lost out in the race to gain an official licence.

The competition to find a polio vaccine began in 1938, when Franklin D Roosevelt (himself stricken with the disease) founded the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis. Jonas Salk, who would develop the first injectable vaccine, concentrated on dead polio virus. Koprowski, though, reasoned that a live but weakened (or attenuated) form of the virus would more closely mimic an actual polio infection.

Many scientists were wary of using the live virus, fearing that even in its weakened state it might still be dangerous. But in January 1948 Koprowski gulped down a preparation made with ground-up cotton-rat brain infected with attenuated polio virus. He survived, and two years later 20 boys and girls at a home for children with learning difficulties were given doses of the same mixture, with no ill effects. Continue reading “Hilary Koprowski: The Daily Telegraph Obituary”