The White Death

(Sydney: Angus & Robertson [An imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers], 1996), 266 pages. ISBN 0-207-19041-0. A$16.95.

Did the use of monkeys for medicine cause AIDS? A chilling exposé of a theory that has international scientists running for cover.

From the back cover:

One new death sentence every nine seconds . . .

By the year 2000, forty million people across the world will be infected with a lethal virus. AIDS will kill more than the Black Death, more than World War II, more, perhaps, than all the wars and plagues in history.

But how did we get AIDS? The White Death is the chilling account of the most likely explanation — and how the world scientific community reacted to it. If the theory is true, then new plagues could be lying in wait, ready to enter humanity by the same loophole.

If we don’t test the theory, The White Death asks, could it happen again?

‘… a gripping story that will set alarm bells ringing in medical laboratories around the world. The warning it carries should be heeded before it is too late.’ — Professor Peter Singer, Centre of Human Bioethics, Monash University

Topics covered

The White Death is told as a sort of scientific mystery story. It covers the impact of AIDS, the impact of disease on society, African origins of AIDS, alternative theories of AIDS, scientists’ efforts against polio, Koprowski’s 1957-1959 vaccination trials, contamination of polio vaccine, Pascal’s work and the response to it, Curtis’s work and the response of the medical establishment, recent evidence and its implications, implications of the polio-vaccine theory.

About the author

Julian Cribb is one of Australia’s leading science communicators. He has been a newspaper journalist and editor since 1969, specialising in the fields of agriculture and science. For the past twenty years he has worked from the Parliamentary Press Gallery in Canberra, writing for numerous publications including the national daily, The Australian, of which he was science and technology correspondent, and commenting on science topics for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. His work has been recognised in thirty-two awards for newspaper journalism, including several for science and medicine. He was foundation president of the Australian Science Communicators Association.

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