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In 1959, as now, there was a fearsome disease of global concern and enormous pressure for a cure.
Then, as now, scientists were not only fuelled by noble intentions, but also fired by more selfish motives of prestige and potentially huge profits.
Over several months in 1985, the samples are subjected to exhaustive tests, first at Emory and then at Harvard, before results are confirmed at two independent laboratories.
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'Every one of all known HIV-1 cases in Africa before 1981 came from places within 160km of those CHAT vaccination sites.' Could the AIDS pandemic have been sparked off by polio researchers in Belgium's former African colonies?
Meanwhile, 40 years later and because of the internal strife there, polio vaccination initiatives in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been disrupted.
As a result, it is chillingly ironic that the region is once again a stronghold for the disease.
The vaccine in this case, CHAT, was developed in the '50s by Dr Hilary Koprowski, a pioneer American virologist and, as a developer of a set of oral polio vaccines, the first person to feed the vaccine to humans in 1950. "And it was a heroic undertaking, 256 000 in six weeks. But it was a race nonetheless - one in which national pride and personal honour were at stake, possibly to the detriment of acceptable scientific practices.
Koprowski arrived at Lindi in 1957 to oversee vaccine research there, but little else is known about his work at the camp, other than that some of the animals he and his colleagues worked with were evidently sick. In Koprowski's defence, however, is the fact that - as far as is known - no sample of CHAT virus or vaccine has ever been tested and found to contain SIV or HIV.
"We do not know exactly what happened at Lindi," Hooper writes, "but there is a huge and unexplained gap in the records of the experiments conducted there, and considerable secrecy surrounds the work carried out on the chimps - secrecy that continues to this day. Hooper, however, suggests that tests could be carried out on CHAT polio viruses held in various international research institutes to this end.
"What we do know is that two species of chimpanzee were housed in the camp, often in the same cages. Furthermore, it is clear that a pool of [CHAT] vaccine made in chimp kidney tissue culture could have been produced [in poor conditions] in Stanleyville itself." Between February 1957 and June 1960, an estimated 330 000 Africans were vaccinated with CHAT in the former Belgian Congo and, between February 1958 and March 1960, a further 660 000 in the Rwanda-Burundi regions - almost a million CHAT vaccinees in Belgium's former colonies. As for the AIDS epidemic, it continues - and so does medical science's struggle against it.
It's not known what happened to that African male, but in the two decades since his blood was taken - and before 1981, or Year Zero for AIDS, the year the US officially recognises the epidemic - a number of other Africans and European visitors to Africa will be infected with HIV-1, the first strain of the virus to be identified.
These are cases who wound up in clinics and hospitals - mainly in the Congo, but also in Rwanda and Burundi - with what we now recognise as principal AIDS-type symptoms: aggressive Kaposi's sarcoma, toxoplasmosis, diarrhoea, tuberculosis and other ailments.
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