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new hope for a vaccine or cure?
May 25, 2006 5:00 PM   Subscribe

AIDS really did come from chimps in the 1950s --..."We're 25 years into this pandemic," Hahn said. "We don't have a cure. We don't have a vaccine. But we know where it came from. At least we can make a check mark on one of those." ... ...Identifying the source of the HIV pandemic is more than filling in a missing link in the disease's progression. ...
posted by amberglow (25 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
(the Guardian says it crossed to humans in the 1930s tho)
posted by amberglow at 5:01 PM on May 25, 2006


So it wasn't an accidental contamination originating from an american lab?
posted by b1tr0t at 5:14 PM on May 25, 2006


Interesting, thanks amberglow.

Just in case the line in the Grauniad piece about the teenager in St. Louis catches anyone else's eye: Boy's 1969 death suggests AIDS invaded US several times. Not that I'm hunting for a Typhoid Mary or anything, I'd just not read about that case before.
posted by jack_mo at 5:15 PM on May 25, 2006


So it wasn't an accidental contamination originating from an american lab?

Yeah, I'm curious if this strengthens or weakens Edward Hooper's case in The River.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 5:28 PM on May 25, 2006


here is an intresting article on The Loom about how the Human Immune System is diffrent from all other animals, including chimps. It could explain why HIV causes AIDS in humans, but not chips, as well as what happened with that UK drug test a while back.
posted by delmoi at 5:37 PM on May 25, 2006


Overview of the theory

One theory of the origin of AIDS is that it developed from contaminated vaccines used in the world's first mass immunisation for polio. There are a number of reasons why this theory is plausible enough to be worthy of further investigation.

  • The location coincides dramatically. The earliest known cases of AIDS occurred in central Africa, in the same regions where Koprowski's polio vaccine was given to over a million people in 1957-1960.
  • The timing coincides. There is no documented case of HIV infection or AIDS before 1959. Centuries of the slave trade and European exploitation of Africa exposed Africans and others to all other diseases then known; it is implausible that HIV could have been present and spreading in Africa without being recognised.
  • Polio vaccines are grown (cultured) on monkey kidneys which could have been contaminated by SIVs. Polio vaccines could not be screened for SIV contamination before 1985.
  • Another monkey virus, SV-40, is known to have been passed to humans through polio vaccines. A specific pool of Koprowski's vaccine was later shown to have been contaminated by an unknown virus.
  • In order for a virus to infect a different species, it is helpful to reduce the resistance of the new host's immune system. Koprowski's polio vaccine was given to many children less than one month old, before their immune systems were fully developed. Indeed, in one trial, infants were given 15 times the standard dose in order to ensure effective immunisation.

  • posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 6:16 PM on May 25, 2006


    are there any documented cases of any wasting diseases or other things that could have actually been AIDS?
    posted by amberglow at 6:50 PM on May 25, 2006


    Edward Hooper replies to these latest results. On the face of it, locating a region where chimps carry an SIV similar to HIV-1 may prove the virus's ultimate origin, but not its more proximate method of transmission to humans.

    More on the OPV theory at Hooper's website.
    posted by greatgefilte at 7:12 PM on May 25, 2006


    Amberglow, many diseases cause cachexia (wasting), including cancer, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases. If physicians didn't know about AIDS, they might have assumed TB was the culprit.
    posted by Quietgal at 7:16 PM on May 25, 2006


    Then there is those who believe HIV was created by western scientists to punish blacks.
    posted by spazzm at 8:10 PM on May 25, 2006


    Oops. I'm so sorry.
    posted by spazzm at 8:10 PM on May 25, 2006


    Hooper's theory has been disproved by analysis of the molecular evolution of HIV-1.

    Everything but Hahn's cut-hunter hypothesis is nothing more than conspiracy theory bullshit.
    posted by docgonzo at 8:25 PM on May 25, 2006


    Gaƫtan Dugas is off the hook as the instrument of God's Wrath. Now: the quest for monkey zero. Look for a chimp hanging out in gay bars around Kinshasa.
    posted by missbossy at 8:35 PM on May 25, 2006


    # The timing coincides. There is no documented case of HIV infection or AIDS before 1959. Centuries of the slave trade and European exploitation of Africa exposed Africans and others to all other diseases then known; it is implausible that HIV could have been present and spreading in Africa without being recognised.

    Is it plausible that SARS only emerged in 2002? Or Marburg in 1967?

    The emergence of new infectious diseases is under the influence of a large number of social, cultural and ecological factors. It requires a unique confluence of epidemiological and immunological factors for viruses (or other microbial pathogens) to make the jump between species.

    Estimates of the first infections of HIV-1 in human communities date to about 1930; it is only the social and political upheaval of the post-colonial period that fuelled the spread of the disease to populations outside central Africa.

    Hooper's theory makes a nice story. But it has failed to be supported by any of the scientific fact.
    posted by docgonzo at 8:40 PM on May 25, 2006


    missbossy: M. Dugas still has alot to answer for. But not as much as the CDC, the Red Cross, many in San Fran's gay community, or anyone in the Reagan administration. Read this.
    posted by docgonzo at 8:42 PM on May 25, 2006


    I attended a lecture by a physician who did the original work on HIV at the start of the epidemic in New York... apparently the first documented case of HIV in Brooklyn is from the late 1950's. A Haitian man died of opportunistic infections and his serum was saved in Kings County Hospital--it subsequently tested positive for the virus many years later.
    posted by mert at 8:59 PM on May 25, 2006


    thanks for the book recommendation
    posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 9:02 PM on May 25, 2006


    How important would this news be if people used condoms, quit sharing needles, and tested sold/donated blood and organs?
    posted by davy at 10:23 PM on May 25, 2006


    Earth to Davy, come in Davy
    posted by mert at 11:04 PM on May 25, 2006


    it's ground control
    posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 12:24 AM on May 26, 2006


    davy: How important would this news be if people used condoms, quit sharing needles, and tested sold/donated blood and organs?

    Well, a lot of the reason it because so widespread was that it wasn't known for a long time those things were necessary (and of course you have to know about the virus to test organs and blood for it.) And even now, a lot of the spreading occurs among very uneducated people who cannot make educated decisions regarding the causation of the disease. In the third world, you have a lot of morons spreading insane conspiracy theories about the origin and mode of transmission, as well as manipulative scum spreading rumors to incite the population against certain groups. So it's hard to educate them. Even here such things are more common than they should be.

    Of course, most of the time in the first world, there's no excuse.
    posted by Mitrovarr at 2:02 AM on May 26, 2006


    I'm imploring everyone to watch Frontline's "Age of Aids". I watched the first night's episode last week and it's absolutely fantastic. For most Americans it will air next Tuesday at 9 PM. The section on the origin of the virus taught me a lot.
    posted by Mayor Curley at 4:17 AM on May 26, 2006


    They'll chew your face off and pull your nuts off if you give them a chance. It looks like they were sleeping with our women, for Christ's sake. And now this.

    I hate every chimp I see...
    posted by pracowity at 5:29 AM on May 26, 2006


    from chimpan-a to chimpan-z.
    posted by lyam at 5:41 AM on May 26, 2006


    Maybe the women were asking for it, pracowity. Maybe it was your fault because the chimps were better lovers. Ever think of that?
    posted by needs more cowbell at 8:35 AM on May 26, 2006


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