Health, Reviews January 1, 2007

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

by admin

Book Author: Edward Hooper

Reviewed by: Jonathan Latham (The Bioscience Resource Project)

If humans really did acquire HIV/AIDS from bushmeat, then how can one explain that the four known variants of HIV (three different types of HIV-1, plus HIV-2), each acquired independently, apparently originate from a very brief period in the history of human/chimpanzee interaction? Did something else happen in Africa in that period that might explain this remarkable coincidence?

The River

Edward Hooper’s response was to investigate whether the polio mass vaccination (OPV) programmes of that period used primate tissues that were themselves contaminated with simian viruses that were forerunners of HIV. En route he uncovered the half-forgotten and, to this reader at least, despicable story of uncontrolled and reckless experimentation on Africa’s human population that alone would make a remarkable book.

Hooper is relentless in his pursuit of evidence and one of the fascinating subplots of the book are the attempts of various individuals and organizations to deny him and others access to original samples and documents that might resolve the matter. More gripping than any adventure novel, this is an exceptionally well-written and compulsive read. It has been inexplicably out of print since 2004, so you will have to make an effort to get hold of it.

The Australian sociologist of science Brian Martin has updated this (OPV) story in an online article titled: How to attack a scientific theory and get away with it (usually): the attempt to destroy an origin-of-AIDS hypothesis
ISBN: 0316371378 Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (2000)

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