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HIV did not arise from polio vaccine

Researchers in four countries have unanimously opined that the deadly Human Immune Deficiency Virus (HIV) Epidemic did not arise from an oral polio vaccine used in Africa in the 1950s and say rumours suggesting the contrary have no scientific evidence to back them up.

The studies, from researchers in the US, UK, France and Germany, should help free the polio vaccine manufactured by the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from lingering questions over its proposed role in creating the HIV scourge.

The research into the origin of HIV started when rumours started flying thick and fast that HIV originated from the Wistar vaccine used in a 1950s anti-polio campaign in Africa. These vaccines were allegedly cultured in chimpanzee kidney cells. These chimp cells, some say, may have been contaminated with the virus that became HIV-1, the strain responsible for most of the world's HIV infections. The Wistar Institute has always denied that any chimp cells were used in manufacturing its OPV.

But the fact that mainstream researchers believe HIV arose from the related Simian Immunodeficiency virus (SIV) in chimps has bolstered the idea that HIV was mistakenly unleashed through polio vaccination. The theory was first made famous in a 1992 Rolling Stone article, and the idea gained more steam with the 1999 publication of journalist Edward Hooper's book "The River."

But in new findings published in the journals Nature and Science, four research teams demonstrate that the Wistar vaccine did not contain chimp cells and that the virus that would become HIV likely jumped from chimps to humans just once--and not through a massive, simultaneous transfer, as it would if vaccination were to blame.

Though these findings are not sufficient to convince all skeptics, atleast a vast majority of the scientific community now feel convinced that the oral polio vaccine was not the villain that unleashed HIV on the human race.

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