Seeds of Doom - Chapter 6
Story of a controversial theory about the origin of AIDS
Chapter 6: The Royal Society
After the appearance of Hooper's book, the media became more interested in the theory.<ref name="ftn113">Hooper's book raised the level of interest on the origin of AIDS and the coverage in the lay press was remarkable. See the bibliography on Brian Martin's and Ed Hooper's (http://www.aidsorigins.com/) home pages.</ref> The scientific community could not remain silent.<ref name="ftn114">Examples of responses in the scientific press are: (WAIN-HOBSON, S., Nature Medicine , 1999); (WEISS, R. A., Science , 1999); (GILKS, C., New Scientist , 1999); (SHARP, D., Lancet , 1999); (MONTO, A. S., American Journal of Epidemiology , 2001); (WINKELSTEIN, W., American Journal of Epidemiology , 2001); (MOORE, J. P., Nature , 1999); (WONG, K. W., Nature , 2000). Hooper's reply to "Nature" was rejected for publication. Brian Martin's review, which called for a fairer evaluation of the OPV theory, appeared in "Science As Culture" (MARTIN, B., Science as Culture , 2000) a few pages after a summary by Hooper of the principal theses of his book, the latest updates of the debate and his replies to the critics to the OPV/AIDS theory (HOOPER, E., Science as Culture , 2000). A brief letter by Koprowski and Plotkin (Koprowski's colleague in the period of the Congo campaigns) appeared in "Science" which promised the future publication of proofs that would show that chimpanzees were never used in polio vaccine production. (PLOTKIN, S. A. et al., Science , 1999). (Such proofs were in fact never published.) Hooper replied in a letter that he wasn't accusing a precise researcher or laboratory of using chimpanzees in production of vaccines, or in allowing the vaccines to become contaminated with SIV, but that such an event could have occurred either in USA, Belgium or Africa. (HOOPER, E., Science , 2000b).</ref> Hooper was alone but he had an ally worthy of the highest respect: Bill Hamilton. Who is Bill Hamilton? Probably the greatest evolutionary biologist of the 20th century. First there is Darwin then there is Hamilton.
After the outcome of the lawsuit against Curtis, Bill Hamilton had intervened defending the plausibility of the theory and pointing out the danger for science of such legal action.<ref name="ftn115">Hamilton had heard about the theory from L. Pascal (CRIBB, J., "The White Death.", 1996) see pp. 182-4, 254-7. Part of the correspondence between Hamilton and the two reviews can be consulted on Martin's and Hooper's home pages.</ref> From the height of his prestigious position he had written to Science twice, but they had refused to publish his letters. Then he had written to Nature, another respected journal, which ... also refused to publish.
So when Hooper's book came out,<ref name="ftn116">Hamilton wrote the foreword to "The River".</ref> Hamilton decided to assume a more active role: he decided to organize a conference at the Royal Society in London, the most celebrated scientific academy in the world, of which he was, naturally, an honorary member. He invited the chief exponents of research in the fields of epidemiology, virology and primatology, as well as experts in genetics, in order to discuss the two principal theories of the origin of AIDS: the "bushmeat" hypothesis and the polio vaccine theory.<ref name="ftn117">(BUTLER, D., Nature , 2000). </ref> But Hamilton also wanted new research to be carried out.
When he became tired of responses such as "Yes, that's very interesting but our research funding comes from... So I'm afraid I must refrain from getting involved with this", he decided to undertake the task of gathering new scientific data himself. For this purpose he organized a series of expeditions to the Congo. He went on his first mission in 1999 and on a second at the beginning of 2000.
But our story, which will appear to have been written by a wicked TV series scriptwriter, suddenly took a different turn. Hamilton contracted malaria in the Congo, returned to England, and a few days later lapsed into a coma. On 7th March 2000, at the age of 64, Bill Hamilton, the greatest evolutionary biologist of the 20th century, died.<ref name="ftn118">(HOOPER, E., "The River : A Journey to the Source of Hiv and Aids.", 2000) see pp. 872-4; (SIMINI, B., Lancet , 2000); (TRIVERS, R., Nature , 2000); (MORAN, N. et al., Nature Medicine , 2000).</ref>
I don't imagine there was anyone so cynical as to be happy about Hamilton's death, but soon voices were heard saying that the OPV/AIDS theory was being taken too seriously, that the meeting as planned by Hamilton was unbalanced and, if not corrected, many of the guest speakers would not come. As a result the meeting was put back from May to September and re-organized.<ref name="ftn119">(BIRMINGHAM, K. et al., Nature Medicine , 2000); (COHEN, J., Science , 2000a). There was no reference by Desmyter to the Royal Society meeting in his article "From polio to AIDS, 1950-2005" (DESMYTER, J., Acta Clin Belg , 2000).</ref> The new date is one which is not likely to be forgotten: 9/11... 2000<ref name="ftn120">The discussion meeting, entitled "Origins of HIV and the AIDS epidemic", was organized by Robin Weiss and Simon Wain-Hobson and was held Monday 11th and Tuesday 12th September 2000 at the Royal Society in London.</ref>, exactly a year before another unforgettable day.
It's the 11th of September. In the auditorium of the Royal Society all the warriors are present. Hooper and Koprowski ignore each other. The chairmen open the conference in honor of Bill Hamilton, a great man of science, an example for all by virtue of his brilliance, integrity and open-mindedness. Applause... and the battle begins!
- First refutation: the methodology you used to demonstrate a correlation between the locations of the vaccinations and the appearance of the first cases of AIDS is not correct!<ref name="ftn121">(DE COCK, K. M., Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences , 2001).</ref>
- Without going into detail, it seems to me difficult to maintain that there is no relationship between them.
- Second proof: we have established the origin of the AIDS epidemic at 1931!<ref name="ftn122">(YUSIM, K. et al., Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences , 2001). The article of Korber and collegues, which estimated "the date of the last common ancestor of the main group of HIV-1 to be 1931 (1915-41)", was published in June in "Science" (KORBER, B. et al., Science , 2000b); see also (STEPHENSON, J., JAMA , 2000). A very interesting article by Dr. Hillis commented on the implications of the timing. (HILLIS, D. M., Science , 2000a). Other comments of Robert F. Garry (June 9, 2000), David M. Hillis (June 19, 2000), Horia Georgescu (Nov 5, 2000) are available on Science online.</ref>
- That is known to be a hypothetical estimate.<ref name="ftn123">(HOOPER, E., Science , 2000a); see also (KORBER, B. et al., Science , 2000a) and (HILLIS, D. M., Science , 2000b).</ref>
- Third proof: chimpanzees were never used; Koprowski and many other researchers at the time confirm this.<ref name="ftn124">(PLOTKIN, S. A. et al., Science , 2000).</ref>
- There are actually no existing documents and besides I have witnesses who confirm that, on the contrary, chimpanzees were used.
- Are we to believe African workers and doubt the word of Western researchers?
- Such discrimination is unacceptable!
- Trypsin eliminates HIV in the primary phases of production.<ref name="ftn125">(OHTA, Y. et al., AIDS , 1989). See also (GARRETT, A. J. et al., Lancet , 1993); (STRICKER, R. B. et al., Lancet , 1994); (GARRETT, A. J., Lancet , 1994); (ARYA, S. C., Lancet , 1994); (HAYFLICK, L., Lancet , 1994) and also (BEALE, J. et al., Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences , 2001); (LENA, P. et al., Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences , 2001). See also (HOOPER, E., "The River : A Journey to the Source of Hiv and Aids.", 2000) see pp. 657-662.</ref>
- We know practically nothing about how and where vaccine was originally amplified and if trypsin was used.
- The vaccine was also tested on 6 million Poles!
- But it is possible that only the vaccines used in the Congo were amplified using chimpanzee kidneys.
Up to now Hooper has warded off the blows very well, but this last attack is fatal:
- Koprowski's old vaccines have at last been tested!<ref name="ftn126">http://www.uow.edu.au/arts/sts/bmartin/dissent/documents/AIDS/rs/Wistar.html</ref>
- No trace of SIV was found, nor of HIV, nor of chimpanzee DNA. Only that of Asian monkeys.
"Some beautiful facts have destroyed an ugly theory."
"Disputed AIDS theory dies its final death."<ref name="ftn127">(DICKSON, D., Nature , 2000); (COHEN, J., Science , 2000b); (HORTON, R., Lancet , 2000); (BIRMINGHAM, K., Nature Medicine , 2000). See also (BEALE, J., Lancet , 2001); (STRICKER, R. B. et al., Lancet , 2001); (BLISS, M., Lancet , 2001) and (HILLIS, D. M., Science , 2000b); (Anon., Nature , 2000); (PLOTKIN, S. A. et al., Nature , 2000); (LECATSAS, G., Nature , 2000). For the articles from which the quotes are taken: (WEISS, R. A., Nature , 2001) and (COHEN, J., Science , 2001). See also (CLARKE, T., Nature , 2001). The result of the tests were published only in April 2001 in "Science" and "Nature": (POINAR, H. et al., Science , 2001); (BLANCOU, P. et al., Nature , 2001); (BERRY, N. et al., Nature , 2001). See also (RAMBAUT, A. et al., Nature , 2001); (RIZZO, P. et al., Virology , 2001); (KHAN, A. S. et al., Journal of Infectious Diseases , 1996); (STRICKER, R. B. et al., Journal of Infectious Diseases , 1997); (KAHN, A. S. et al., Journal of Infectious Diseases , 1997); (BERRY, N. et al., Vaccine , 2005). Other tests on CHAT samples had been conducted in Sweden in 1995, suggested by Hamilton and Hooper (HOOPER, E., "The River : A Journey to the Source of Hiv and Aids.", 2000) see pp. 334-5, 505-510, 599-601, 799-800. The papers of the meeting were published in June 2001 (AAVV, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences , 2001). See also (PLOTKIN, S. A., Clin Infect Dis , 2001a); (PLOTKIN, S. A., Clin Infect Dis , 2001b)</ref>
Critics to "bushmeat" hypothesis
OK. So let's say the OPV/AIDS theory is not true. Why have the various weak points of the "bushmeat" hypothesis not been challenged? Who has decided that the transfer theory is to be simply accepted as valid?<ref name="ftn128">(MARTIN, B., Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences , 2001).</ref> Above all, it does not clarify why there are no historical or social incidents of AIDS before the 20th century...
- You know, not everything in Africa is reported. There were probably epidemics, but they have been forgotten or confused with other illnesses.<ref name="ftn129">For instance (DE COCK, K. M., Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) , 1984).</ref>
- But millions of Africans have been transported all over the world as slaves, and there was never any evidence of AIDS outside Africa until the 1970s.<ref name="ftn130">(HOOPER, E., "The River : A Journey to the Source of Hiv and Aids.", 2000) see pp. 677-8. </ref>
- Perhaps the virus was confined to one isolated tribe...<ref name="ftn131">(DESMYTER, J. et al., Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) , 1986); (BRUN-VEZINET, F. et al., Lancet , 1986). </ref>
- No. Because there would have had to be at least 7 isolated tribes to account for at least 7 different simultaneous epidemics!<ref name="ftn132">(BURR, T. et al., Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences , 2001)</ref>
- During the 20th century in Africa there was colonization, a liberation of sexual customs, urbanization. It is known that life in the cities has become much more liberal. And then deforestation, which has brought humans much more into contact with monkeys...<ref name="ftn133">See for instance (CHITNIS, A. et al., AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses , 2000); (GIUNTA, S. et al., Nature , 1987). See also
- And how do you explain the genetic disparity?
- Genetic what?
Unsterile injections hypotheses
- There are cases in which the human virus and the monkey virus are almost identical. But it would seem that these viruses in humans are not pathogenic and not transmittable to others. So, in order for a monkey virus to actually cause disease, it must be genetically dissimilar in some way, and then become modified, adapted to the human body. What could have caused viruses such as these to adapt themselves to humans?
- Syringes. Since the end of the Second World War, increasingly more disposable syringes, throw-aways, have been manufactured and used. But Africa is often short of medical supplies, so disposable syringes, which are impossible to sterilize, have been refilled dozens of times. And in passing the needle quickly from arm to arm...
- So this is the new theory: the virus was transmitted several times, naturally, from monkey to human. But it never caused AIDS, nor did it ever spread. Then, with the repeated use of disposable needles, the virus was able to adapt itself to humans and cause AIDS!<ref name="ftn134">For this theory see (MARX, P. A. et al., Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences , 2001); (DRUCKER, E. et al., Lancet , 2001). Hooper presented and discussed Marx' hypothesis in his book (HOOPER, E., "The River : A Journey to the Source of Hiv and Aids.", 2000) see pp. 667-675 e 681-685. See also (GISSELQUIST, D. et al., Bmj , 2002) and (GISSELQUIST, D. et al., International Journal of STD and AIDS , 2002) and the reply by Hooper on his home page (HOOPER, E., London Review of Books , 2003).</ref>
- Once again medicine stands accused. How is it possible that this time the theory is accepted so readily?
- Well, it's not the fault of medicine exactly, more the shortage of medical supplies in developing countries. A much more politically correct theory, don't you think?
- Of course. It's so easy to blame poverty.