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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."

How AIDS Was Unleashed Upon Africa

Observer, Sunday 9 July 2000

World scientists gather in Durban today to discuss the epidemic sweeping the continent. But still we don't know how it began. Edward Hooper returns to Uganda where 14 years ago he first charted the scale of the calamity. His fears have been confirmed, he argues: we unwittingly sparked the horror with a contaminated polio vaccine

AIDS: A Man-Made Disaster?

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

The Scotsman, 24 June 2000, Magazine pp. 16-21.

WHEN THE BLOOD LEFT Bill Hamilton it drained away as fast as a reputation, starving his great mind of oxygen and leaving his body in a coma. Hailed as the "most distinguished Darwinian since Darwin", Hamilton had just returned to the UK from the Congo where he had been seeking evidence that another great scientist had inadvertently triggered the deaths of 16 million people.

The Origin of AIDS

Prospect (UK), June 2000, pp. 31-35; reprinted as "The true origin of AIDS" in Mail and Guardian (Johannesburg), 7-13 July 2000, pp. 22-23, 31.

Most scientists believe that Aids was "naturally" transferred from primates to human beings via a hunter who ate a chimpanzee. But a competing theory claims that Aids was caused in the 1950s when thousands of Africans were given a live polio vaccine derived from chimp kidneys. The stakes are getting higher.

River of Tears

Why is Aids an epidemic? Edward Hooper spent years looking for the source, and his book has sparked controversy over claims of human error in the vaccination programmes

Published in The Guardian, Wednesday 5 April 2000

In June 1981, two unusual events occurred in very different parts of the world. In Los Angeles, five gay men fell sick with rare symptoms suggestive of immunological problems, which prompted two local doctors to write a paper for the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Meanwhile, in Mugana, northern Tanzania, a German missionary doctor saw five women from the Ugandan border region, all suffering from untreatable anaerobic ulcers of the groin and anus. Some new pathogen was abroad, and these doctors were among the first to recognise that fact.

Letter to Guardian

It is most certainly not members of the Royal Society who should be criticised, but those who have backtracked about appearing at the conference, or worked to undermine it.

Letter to Guardian

Following the allegations you report (Royal Society accused in row over origins of HIV, March 30) that the proposed Royal Society discussion on the origins of HIV has been postponed "after pressure from opponents of the vaccine theory", I write to clarify the matter.

An Improbable Theory on AIDS Is Put to the Test


An Improbable Theory on AIDS Is Put to the Test


New York Times, Tuesday 21 March 2000, pp. D1-D2

Scientists in three laboratories in the United States and Europe are gearing up to test samples of an experimental polio vaccine stored for more than 40 years to determine whether it might have inadvertently been the spark that ignited the worldwide AIDS epidemic.

The River Runs Through It

[Article about The River: A Journey to the Source of HIV and AIDS]

Contaminated polio vaccines started AIDS in Africa in the '50s. A National Enquirer headline? No. It's the premise of a big new book fueling an old controversy among researchers.

Could a human error in 1950s medical research be the cause of the massive global catastrophe of AIDS?

POZ Magazine, March 2000

A highly controversial book positing just such a theory has been kicking up dust in the AIDS research world since its release last September. The River: A Journey to the Source of HIV and AIDS (Little, Brown and Company/Boston), written by British medical researcher and former BBC correspondent Edward Hooper, proposes that HIV emerged from a contaminated batch of experimental oral polio vaccine (OPV) administered to Africans in the late 1950s.

Tissue Wars

Review of The River: A Journey Back to the Source of HIV and Aids by Edward Hooper.

London Review of Books, Vol 22, No 5, 2 March 2000

More than a thousand pages long and the fruit of a decade's work, The River amounts to something more than the attempt to track down the source of Aids. It is, in fact, three books rolled into one. The investigation advertised by the title is, of course, of the highest significance. It was in 1981 that attention was first drawn to the condition, as evidence mounted that gays in New York and California were falling victim to illnesses like pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) and Kaposi's sarcoma, rarely seen in otherwise healthy young people. A number of theories were proposed as to its origins, some unscientific ('the wrath of God'), and others (homosexuality or Haitians) generally discredited once the human immunodeficiency virus had been isolated.

Daily Telegraph Review

"Was polio vaccine the cause of AIDS?"

(Review of The River: A Journey Back to the Source of HIV and AIDS) by Matt Ridley

Daily Telegraph (UK), 1 March 2000

Bill Hamilton, the brilliant Oxford zoologist who died last week, caught his fatal disease while in the Congo. He was there in search of chimpanzee stools with which to test a radical theory about the origin of the AIDS virus. Saddened by his death, I spent the weekend reading the book that had convinced him of this theory. It has shaken me to the core.

THES Review

Review of Hooper, E. 1999. The River: a Journey to the Source of HIV and AIDS

Professor of Anthropology and Biological Sciences, Rutgers University and Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics, UMDNJ

Times Higher Educational Supplement, 18 February 2000

Origin of AIDS - An Alternative Scenario

Statement to the press about the origin-of-AIDS debate by Edward Hooper, author of The River

Sunday, February 6, 2000 2:45 PM

Origin of AIDS - An Alternative Scenario

I am increasingly concerned by some of the statements made, and articles written, about Dr Bette Korber's presentation on the origin of AIDS made at the Seventh Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections. Some reports of Korber's hypothesis, and the alternative hypothesis of iatrogenic (physician-caused) introduction via an experimental oral polio vaccine (OPV), have been accurate and commendably balanced; others less so.

New Statesman Review

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

New Statesman, 31 January 2000

Edward Hooper, The River: a journey back to the source of HIV and AIDS, London and New York, Allen Lane, The Penguin Press, 1999, xxiii + 1070 pp., including index and appendices.

It has recently come to light that in Gateshead in the mid-1950s about 250,000 children were chosen for a polio vaccine trial. Parents were given minimal information before the children were called for shots of the oral vaccine. It is now clear that New Variant CJD has nothing to do with eating beef. It is the result of this trial. A few batches of the vaccine, cultured on bovine tissue, were contaminated with the virus which produces NVCJD.


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