Koprowski and other researchers refute the claim that chimpanzee kidneys were utilized. The vaccine was manufactured in the United States using organs from other species of monkeys but independent testing of leftover samples showed no signs of chimpanzee DNA or SIV. The documentary team did discover several local Congolese workers though who claim that chimpanzee kidneys were harvested and may have been used to increase local vaccine production. Testing can no longer be done on samples that were actually used in the Congo.
The genetic evolution of HIV has been “collaborated” on by Bette Korber a staff scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. In order to calculate the rate at which HIV changes Korber built a molecular clock by taking into account the mutations the virus underwent between the middle of the 1980s and 1999.
She determined the last common ancestor of HIV the virus from which all current variations descended to be 1931 using that rate and working backward. If Korber is correct the virus must have spread from monkeys to humans earlier than that date and way before Koprowski tested his vaccine. In 2000 Korber published the findings of her research in Nature.
Hahn has wandered through the African jungles collecting chimp urine and feces while Korber and her computer contributed a timeline to the discussion. When she examined those samples for genetic evidence of SIV she discovered that various chimpanzee subspecies harbor various variants of the virus only one of which is most likely the ancestor of HIV-1 the virus that infects more than 60 million people worldwide.
“In 1999 we published a paper in Nature that said that not all chimpanzee viruses are the likely source of HIV-1 only those found in West Central Africa are ” said Hahn. Hahn’s findings place the probable origin of the epidemic west of Koprowski’s vaccination campaign.
In the April 22 2004 issue of Nature Hahn and Worobey published findings from a trip they took to the Democratic Republic of the Congo last year. The team visited the area where Koprowski’s vaccination campaign was conducted and obtained 97 urine and feces samples. One had SIV genetic traces but it was the wrong kind. Worobey stated that it was located on the incorrect branch of the phylogenetic tree. Therefore it was a distant relative of HIV-1 rather than a sister virus.
Some researchers like Preston Marx chairman of the microbiology and immunology division at the Tulane National Primate Research Center concur with Hooper that he got the timing right. Marx thinks that it mostly happened after World War II and into the early ‘60s. Since the bushmeat trade was in place well before that Marx thinks that it was human intervention that have created the rapid spread in the second half of the century.
However he doesn’t believe that chimpanzee kidneys were used to make Koprowski’s vaccine and if they were he is unsure that the virus which normally requires blood-to-blood or blood-to-mucosal transmission could be passed through organs used in vaccine. [It is apt for one to ask here how come they told us that Covid was transmitted via the air without blood-to-blood intervention and how it could be tested with a swab that rapes your nose and not via a blood test.]
And thus this debate continues. Can we but deduce that it was thanks to human intervention and does this intervention have to do with another experimental vaccine like the Polio one being injected in people in another multinational mass experiment?