The River

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.

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)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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,

New York Times Letter (2)

To the Editor:

The Doctor's World column on AIDS origins makes valid points in the argument that Edward Hooper's theory of vaccine contamination should be explored further. Those scientists who feel the legitimization of Hooper's theory would tarnish public confidence in the safety of vaccines are not only shortsighted, but naïve.

Debate Rages Anew Over Origin of AIDS

Copyright 1999 IPS-Inter Press Service/Global Information Network

IPS-Inter Press Service

The long-held perception that the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) began spontaneously in Africa has been challenged by a British writer, sparking renewed debate over the origins of the disease.

In his recent book, "The River: A Journey Back To The Source Of HIV And AIDS", Edward Hooper puts forth the provocative theory that AIDS actually was introduced to the African continent by Western medicine.

New York Times Review

Heart of Darkness Revisited

'Every one of all known HIV-1 cases in Africa before 1981 came from places within 160km of those CHAT vaccination sites.' Could the AIDS pandemic have been sparked off by polio researchers in Belgium's former African colonies? ANDREW DONALDSON reports on a new book that claims to have found the source of HIV.

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

South Africa Sunday Times, 14 November 1999

FEBRUARY 1959 and the wind of change is blowing through Africa. Two doctors, an American and a Belgian, find themselves in Leopoldville soon after the first pro-independence riots in the capital of the then Belgian Congo.

Economist Review

Did a vaccine cause AIDS?

By Edward Hooper. Little, Brown; 1,104 pages; $34. Allen Lane; £25

A frozen sample in a Philadelphia lab could illuminate the origin of AIDS

Blame Me

Were chimps the source of HIV? Charles Gilks on Edward Hooper's controversial book

The River: A Journey Back to the Source of HIV and AIDS by Edward Hooper, Little Brown, £25/$35, ISBN 0316372617

New Scientist, 13 November 1999, pages 54-55.

FACED with tragedy and terror, it is very human to ask why? HIV/AIDS is undoubtedly the most terrifying of all emerging human diseases. More than 35 million people are infected or sick, around 16 million have already died and worldwide at least 6000 people become infected every day. The strength of Edward Hooper's obsession with the question matches the scale of the pandemic. How did it start? Is anyone to blame? Could it happen again?

Is AIDS Man-Made?

A review by Robin A. Weiss*

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

by Edward Hooper

Little, Brown, New York, 1999. 1104 pp. $35. ISBN 0-316-37261-7. Penguin, London, 1999. 1104 pp. £25. ISBN 0-7139-9335-9.

Science, 12 November 1999; Volume 286, pp. 1305-1306

Thanks to immunization, polio like smallpox may soon be eradicated. But did the trials of early polio vaccines trigger AIDS? The central thesis of Edward Hooper's new book, The River, is that they did. Hooper argues that both AIDS viruses, HIV-1 and HIV-2, first infected humans via contaminated oral poliovirus vaccines (OPV). He claims these vaccines were grown in kidney cell cultures derived in the 1950s from chimpanzees and sooty mangabeys, respectively, that were infected with simian immunodeficiency viruses (SIVs). Although this notion has been explored before, no one previously has researched the history of polio vaccine trials and early AIDS cases so exhaustively. Hooper builds up layer upon layer of circumstantial evidence and plausible conjecture, until he declares: "The reader must make up his mind or her mind. I have made up mine." Yet after having read his 858 pages of text and 175 pages of notes and references, I remain undecided on the origins of HIV.

Debate Over the Origin of AIDS

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

Scientists from the Wistar Institute conducted polio-vaccine tests in the Congo region in the late 1950s. That, a British journalist believes, is when the chimpanzee virus was introduced in humans. The scientists say that's not true.

By Huntly Collins

Philadelphia Inquirer, Monday 8 November 1999

After years of speculation, scientists now agree that the AIDS pandemic began when an AIDS-like virus from a chimpanzee, probably in west-central Africa, jumped species and infected a human being sometime around the middle of this century.


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