HIV Not Linked to SIV-Contaminated Polio Vaccines, Study Says
April 23, 2004
HIV was not introduced into the human population through oral polio vaccines used in the 1950s in Africa that were contaminated with simian immunodeficiency virus, according to a study published on Wednesday in the journal Science, Reuters reports (Reaney, Reuters, 4/21). Although most scientists agree that HIV evolved from the related SIV, they disagree on how the virus crossed over from chimpanzees to humans, according to AFP/Yahoo! News (AFP/Yahoo! News, 4/21). The OPV/AIDS theory claims that tissue from SIV-infected chimpanzees was used in the preparation of polio vaccines that were administered to about one million people in what was then the Belgian Congo region (Munro, CanWest/National Post, 4/22). The site of the 28 vaccination projects correlated closely with the earliest cases of HIV, according to BBC News (BBC News, 4/21). The polio vaccine theory was first brought to light in a 1992 Rolling Stone article and was then expanded by former BBC journalist Edward Hooper in a 1999 book, titled "The River: A Journey Back to the Source of HIV and AIDS" (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/26). Michael Worobey of the University of Arizona and colleagues collected specimens from chimpanzees in the area and found that the chimps were infected with a previously unknown form of SIV, which they named SIVcpzDRC1 (CanWest/National Post, 4/22). SIVcpzDRC1 belongs to a different strain of SIV than the strain that is related to HIV, according to the researchers. They said that their findings -- along with the absence of detectable SIV or chimp DNA in stocks of the original vaccines -- "should finally lay the OPV/AIDS theory to rest."
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.