News Items

New Row Over Origin of AIDS Virus

Does fresh evidence prove western researchers unleashed HIV by experimenting on chimps in Africa?

Guardian (UK), Tuesday 12 September 2000

James Meek, science correspondent

The disturbing and fiercely disputed theory that the Aids virus was unleashed accidentally by western medical researchers in Africa in the 1950s gained new impetus yesterday, with the emergence of fresh witness testimony about the use of chimpanzees in an African mass vaccination trial.

HIV's Link to Polio Vaccine Doubted

Steve Sternberg, USA TODAY, September 12, 2000

© 2000 Gannett Company, Inc.

Tests of polio vaccine stored for nearly half a century undercut the notion that the AIDS virus leapt from monkeys to man through polio shots given to African children in the 1950s, experts said Monday.

Tests Discredit Chimp Theory on HIV

Nigel Hawkes, The Times (London), September 12, 2000

© 2000 Times Newspapers Limited

NEW tests have exploded the theory that the Aids epidemic was started by a contaminated polio vaccine in Africa.

Poliovaccine Testing Results are Not the Endgame

Origin of AIDS: Poliovaccine testing results are not the endgame!

A compilation of media reports on the testing of Wistar polio vaccine samples, by Billi Goldberg, 12 September 2000

Vaccine-AIDS Link Dismissed Scientists say Virus Predates Polio Serum

Patricia Reaney, Reuters, Philadelphia Daily News, September 12, 2000

© 2000 Philadelphia Daily News

AIDS experts yesterday dismissed a theory about the origins of the HIV virus which suggests the disease was spread to humans through a contaminated polio vaccine used in Africa in the late 1950s.

Tests Fail to Support Theory on AIDS and Role of Chimpanzees andVaccine

By Lawrence K. Altman, The New York Times, September 12, 2000

© 2000 The New York Times Company

Tests have failed to support a theory that the worldwide AIDS epidemic was touched off because an experimental oral polio vaccine used in Africa more than 40 years ago was made from chimpanzee tissue, scientists reported yesterday in London.

Statement of the Hypothesis

Statement of the Hypothesis that an Experimental Polio Vaccine was Origin of HIV

Contemporary Women's Issues, September 12, 2000

Theory suggests that an experimental polio vaccine introduced in Central Africa in the 1950s may have exposed the general population to the HIV virus

© 2000 World Health Organization

Wistar Institute Press Release on Testing of Polio Vaccine Samples

EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE: 11 SEPTEMBER 2000 AT 10:15 ET US
Contact: Franklin Hoke
hoke@wistar.upenn.edu
215-898-3700
Wistar Institute

No AIDS-related viruses or champanzee DNA found in 1950's-era polio vaccine

Tests Fail to Link AIDS Spread, Polio Vaccine

AIDS:Tests Fail to Link AIDS Spread, Polio Vaccine

Facts on File World News Digest, September 11, 2000

© 2000 Facts on File, Inc.

Claudio Basilico of the New York University School of Medicine September 11 released the results of a study that had failed to link the 1950s distribution of a polio vaccine in Africa to the beginning of the spread of AIDS. The announcement was made at the Royal Society, a London research organization. The link had been suggested most recently by a 1999 book by British journalist Edward Hooper, entitled The River, which posited that the vaccine had been cultivated using tissue from chimpanzees, the animal in which many scientists believed the AIDS virus had originated.

Press Release

Press Release made available at the Royal Society discussion meeting on the origin of AIDS, 11-12 September 2000

The Year 2000 for many is just a chronological event, but for those of us in polio research the year was to mark the eradication of polio from this planet. It has been fifty years since I was the first scientist to successfully and safely immunize a human being against this dreaded killer.

Press Conference Statement by Stanley Plotkin MD

Embargoed until 9/11/00 15:45 BST

Mr. Hooper has presented the hypothesis that CHAT, a type 1 polio vaccine developed in the US by Dr. Koprowski, and tested there, in Europe and in the former Belgian Congo in the late 50s, was contaminated with HIV. He is not the first to present that hypothesis, and many scientists, including myself, (as I was involved in those tests) have spent a great deal of time researching the origin of the HIV viruses. During the last year, I have studied Mr. Hooper's book and have done an extensive reconstruction of what actually happened 40 years ago, based on documents and testimony. I also did everything possible to facilitate the PCR tests on the vaccine samples conducted by Wistar.

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?

Book on AIDS Raises Tempest

SCIENTISTS GATHER, CONSIDER IF A POLIO RESEARCHER BROUGHT THE DISEASE TO HUMANS IN THE 1950S WITH VACCINE HE MADE FROM INFECTED CHIMP TISSUE

Huntly Collins, Contra Costa Times (California), September 10, 2000

© 2000 Contra Costa Times

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?

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.

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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