Film Documentary Origin of Aids
4TH JULY 2013
“The Origins of AIDS” Documentary, 2003
Although versions of this multiple prize-winning film (which focuses on the OPV theory and the opposition it has encountered) have been available on and off on the Web for the last 10 years, the Canadian producers have made strenuous efforts to have any unofficial versions taken down. This would have been entirely reasonable had they made it easy to purchase the film documentary through other channels, but rather surprisingly they have not done so. No downloadable version was made available for purchase, and otherwise the film could only be bought from North America, via a quite complicated purchase procedure that ran through the National Film Board of Canada web-site. Moreover, at different times either the short (42-minute) or full-length (91-minute) versions of the film were unavailable for purchase. The reasons for the producers’ unwillingness to make the film more freely available are not known, but many have surmised that they may have come under external pressures. (The French co-producers took another approach, and in about 2005 quite suddenly refused to handle the film any more.)
4TH JANUARY 2007 BY EDWARD HOOPER
The Death of Professor Paul M. Osterrieth – and its Significance for the Origins of AIDS debate
For reasons beyond my control I was not present during his five-minute speech, but I heard about it afterwards, and subsequently listened to a tape recording. Although Osterrieth admitted that he had sent “six minced chimpanzee kidneys” to the States, he made no mention of any other work involving chimpanzees, and he now even denied that the CHAT vaccines from the US had ever been handled in his lab. He said that the only success that he had enjoyed making tissue culture had been with baboon kidneys, implied that this had not happened until mid-1958, and added that even then he had succeeded in making only 200 tubes and ten bottles. “There is no possibility that chimpanzee cells could have contaminated the vaccine”, he concluded.
His brief paper was entitled “Vaccine could not have been prepared in Stanleyville”, though apart from assertion, there was nothing in his paper to support this sweeping statement.
Indeed, within weeks of the meeting I discovered that it was the norm in the 1950s for polio vaccine to be amplified in locally available primate cells upon arrival at a recipient laboratory in Africa. Part of the reason was to keep the vaccine virus alive, though such amplification also served to boost the quantity and concentration (or titre) of the vaccine, which allowed greater numbers to be vaccinated. Significantly, before 1960 there was no specification about the species of primates that could and could not be used for polio vaccine preparation in this manner. Vaccine had merely to be prepared in tissues which originated from healthy animals, and which showed no evidence of contamination. One suspects that, not for the first time the world of science, the totals on balance sheets may have played a major role.
As an aside, there was another interesting event that occurred during the course of the Royal Society meeting. A French photographer asked Dr Osterrieth is he could take a photo of him. Osterrieth refused, and apparently added that if the photographer snapped a photo without permission, he would “break [his] camera”. The young photographer, having never been threatened like this before, was quite shocked.
One of the co-organisers of the meeting, retrovirologist Robin Weiss, summed up at the end of the conference, and described Osterrieth’s speech as “resonant”. However, in an e-mail sent the following year to a jourmalist who asked specifically about Osterrieth’s testimony, he put it rather differently. “Either Osterrieth is lying through his teeth or [Hooper] has got it wrong”,
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