During the 90's Edward Hooper, a British journalist, traveled to Africa and became convinced that AIDS was an act of man, not an act of God. He interviewed hundred of participants and collected thousands of documents to support his theory. In 1999 he published a book, The River: A Journey Back to the Source of HIV and AIDS which rocked the scientific community again. Hooper mapped the locations where Koprowski's CHAT vaccine was given and where the earliest cases of AIDS were discovered. It showed a dramatic geographical correlation. Edward Hooper: "The earliest cases of AIDS occurred in central Africa, in the same regions where Koprowski's vaccine was given to over a million people in 1957-1960. I think that what we have here is the route whereby this chimpanzee virus arrived in humans." Hooper claims that kidneys from chimpanzees infected with SIV were used to grow the polio virus during Koprowski's 1950's vaccination campaign. Archival footage confirms that a large number of chimpanzees were housed at Camp Lindi, located upstream from Koprowski's medical laboratory in Stanleyville in the former Belgian Congo. But in his book Hooper provided evidence to show what happened to the four hundred chimps brought to the camp and killed in the space of two years. Camp assistant Christophe Bayelo, cared for the chimps at Lindi. He told Hooper that the staff, including Paul Osterrieth, the lab's head of virology, systemically harvested organs from the camp's chimps. The camp workers claimed that some of the animals were dissected alive. Hooper argued that the main reason for doing so would have been to harvest living tissue cultures needed to make the polio vaccine. Paul Osterrieth and Hilary Koprowski steadfastly denied that chimpanzee tissue was used to grow the polio virus in the Congo. Before his death Pierre Doupagne, the chief technician at the laboratory of Stanleyville admitted to Edward Hooper that he made sterile tissue culture from chimps for Paul Osterrieth. Bill Hamilton, a renowned evolutionary biologist, felt that Hooper's theory had merit. In an interview with CNN he explained why he felt it was necessary to take a closer look. Bill Hamilton: "I feel it's not only the origin of AIDS that is in question here, it is the conduct of science towards the hypothesis, which has been one of paranoid rejection. I think I would not exaggerate to describe it as medical science's worst hated hypothesis." Hamilton traveled to Africa to collect chimpanzee samples but contracted malaria and died in March 2000. Before his death he asked the Royal Society of Scientists in London to stage a debate on the 'hunter vs. the vaccine' theory of the origin of AIDS. William Hamilton was an evolutionary biologist, some say the most influential since Darwin. He traveled to the former Belgian Congo to collect chimpanzee feces. He wondered whether the wild chimpanzees there carried traces of the SIV that has been linked to AIDS. If they did, this would have provided support for Hooper's theory. In September 2000 the world's top AIDS specialists assembled at London's Royal Society for a conference on the origins of AIDS. It was meant to give Edward Hooper a chance to present his evidence to the scientific community. From the opening of the conference arguments were launched against Hooper's theory. Then there was was a surprise announcement. Samples of Kopowski's CHAT vaccine had been located and tested and found not to have any trace of HIV, SIV or chimp DNA. This announcement was viewed by the scientific community as a decisive statement against Hooper's theory. Articles were published in Nature and Science concluded that Hooper's hypothesis was not viable. Dr. Cecil Fox: "They (the scientists), once again, claimed to have laid to rest the idea that HIV could have come from Polio vaccine and I don't think they did a better job than they had done before. There are still great gaping holes in their story." However Hooper pointed out that the samples were discovered in the U.S. and not used in the Congo and that no vaccines still exist from that time. In 2003 Michael Worobey returned to the Congo to complete the studies attempted by Bill Hamilton years ago. In a scientific paper published in April 2004 (read the paper ) they concluded that the SIV found in the chimpanzees near Stanleyville was not the strain that crossed over to humans to cause HIV years ago. The authors stated that this provided proof evidence against the polio vaccine theory. In response, Edward Hooper claims that the chimps used at Camp Lindi came from a large geographical area then tested by Worobey. And he maintians, this means that the researchers cannot claim to have put the issue to rest. He plans to publish a book this year in support his theory. Although Koprowski insists that his polio vaccine could not have sparked the AIDS epidemic, he was one of the key scientists to convince the U.S. government to make polio vaccines with synthetic cells in 1997.
Nov 13, 2005, 17:11:10
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