Edward Hooper

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For other uses, see Edward Hooper (disambiguation).

Edward Hooper (born 1951) is a British writer best known for his book, The River, which investigates the origins and early epidemiology of AIDS and makes a case for the OPV AIDS hypothesis, which states that the AIDS virus was accidentally created by scientists testing an experimental polio vaccine. Hooper's theory has been disputed using molecular biological and phylogenetic studies hypothesizing the origins of HIV as a mutated variant of simian immunodeficiency virus that is lethal to humans.[1][2][3][4][5]

OPV AIDS Research[edit]

Main article: OPV AIDS hypothesis

Hooper first encountered the OPV AIDS hypothesis when he read a 1992 article in Rolling Stone magazine by freelance journalist Tom Curtis. Curtis described a theory advanced by Louis Pascal that the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was inadvertently caused in the late 1950s in the Belgian Congo by Hilary Koprowski's testing of an oral polio vaccine (OPV) on human subjects. This is the "OPV AIDS hypothesis."

The British Medical Journal, in December 1997, published a letter,[6] by Hooper, which described the case of an early AIDS death, that of Arvid Noe. Hooper warned of the danger of zoonosis and also referred to the OPV AIDS hypothesis, "Others, members of the iatrogenic school, believe that the hand of medical science may have played an unintended role. They propose that the capture of monkeys and apes for scientific purposes, or the administration in Africa of vaccines made in substrates of primate kidney, may have been the initial means whereby the precursor simian viruses were transferred to humans."

Hooper, after traveling in Africa, Europe, and the United States for 7 years of research, in 1999 published a book The River: A journey back to the source of HIV and AIDS.[7] In it Hooper surmised that an experimental oral polio vaccine prepared in chimpanzee kidneys or blood may indeed have been the route through which the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) passed to humans and mutated into HIV sometime between 1957 and 1959. Hooper advocated for further scientific investigation of the OPV/AIDS hypothesis and for the observation of appropriate precautions with regard to future use of animal tissue culture in medical applications, particularly in the research and development of AIDS vaccines. Also in 1998, Hooper co-authored a letter to Nature, "An African HIV-1 sequence from 1959 and implications for the origin of the epidemic",[8]

With the enthusiastic support of the eminent evolutionary biologist W. D. Hamilton, Hooper was invited to take part in a symposium at Royal Society of London, the first time a non-scientist had ever been invited to such a discussion. Hooper's presentation and data were heavily criticized and rejected by scientists at the gathering;[9] the vaccine expert Stanley Plotkin wrote at the time that "Testimony by eyewitnesses, documents of the time, epidemiological analysis, and ancillary phylogenetic, virologic and PCR data all concur to reject the [OPV AIDS] hypothesis as false and without factual foundation."[10]

Currently, additional scientific evidence has led to a rejection of the OPV AIDS hypothesis by the scientific community.[11]

Hooper continues to promote the hypothesis on his website, aidsorigins.com, where he criticizes the research and conduct of many of the scientists involved in the investigation and alleges a "very substantial cover-up" took place to silence the hypothesis.[12]


  1. ^ Hillis DM (2000). "AIDS. Origins of HIV". Science 288 (5472): 1757–9. doi:10.1126/science.288.5472.1757. PMID 10877695. 
  2. ^ Birmingham K (2000). "Results make a monkey of OPV-AIDS theory". Nat Med 6 (10): 1067. doi:10.1038/80356. PMID 11017114. 
  3. ^ Cohen J (2001). "AIDS origins. Disputed AIDS theory dies its final death". Science 292 (5517): 615. doi:10.1126/science.292.5517.615a. PMID 11330303. 
  4. ^ Origin of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV/AIDS) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website , Accessed 30 January 2007
  5. ^ Worobey M, Santiago M, Keele B, Ndjango J, Joy J, Labama B, Dhed'A B, Rambaut A, Sharp P, Shaw G, Hahn B (2004). "Origin of AIDS: contaminated polio vaccine theory refuted". Nature 428 (6985): 820. doi:10.1038/428820a. PMID 15103367. 
  6. ^ Hooper, Edward Sailors and star-bursts, and the arrival of HIV BMJ 1997;315:1689-1691 (20 December) retrieved 14 November 2008
  7. ^ Hooper, Edward The river : a journey to the source of HIV and AIDS Boston, MA : Little, Brown and Co ISBN 0-316-37261-7, ISBN 978-0-316-37261-9
  8. ^ Zhu, T; Korber, BT; Nahmias, AJ; Hooper, E; Sharp, PM; Ho, DD (1998). "An African HIV-1 sequence from 1959 and implications for the origin of the epidemic". Nature 391 (6667): 594–597. doi:10.1038/35400. PMID 9468138. 
  9. ^ Plotkin SA, Teuwen DE, Prinzie A, Desmyter J (2001). "Postscript relating to new allegations made by Edward Hooper at The Royal Society Discussion Meeting on 11 September 2000". Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond., B, Biol. Sci. 356 (1410): 825–9. doi:10.1098/rstb.2001.0875. PMC 1088472. PMID 11405926. 
  10. ^ Plotkin SA (2001). "Untruths and consequences: the false hypothesis linking CHAT type 1 polio vaccination to the origin of human immunodeficiency virus". Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond., B, Biol. Sci. 356 (1410): 815–23. doi:10.1098/rstb.2001.0861. PMC 1088471. PMID 11405925. 
  11. ^ For summaries of scientific opinion on the topic, see:
  12. ^ AIDSorigins.com, Edward Hooper's website


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