Dr. Ilya Ivanov, The Father of AIDS.
One of the great mysteries of the 20th century is how the SIVcpz virus was transmitted from chimpanzees to become HIV1 in human beings. The current theories range from hunters eating chimpanzee bush meat and cutting themselves during the slaughtering process to the smallpox inoculations undertaken during the colonial era across Africa.
Science though has started to reveal some of the secrets of HIV1 and we can start to pinpoint its origins.
In 2006 the location of the original SIVcpz strain that caused HIV1 in human beings was found in wild chimpanzees living in the West African state of Cameroon. (1)
The virus called SIVcpz (Simian Immunodeficiency Virus from chimps) had been widely regarded by scientists as the original source of the HIV1 infection, but until 2006 it had only been found in a few captive animals.
SIVcpz is now known to be quite widespread in the wild chimp population of Southern Cameroon with an estimated 35 % of wild chimps having the disease. (2)
It is thought that the three groups of HIV1, the M, N and O groups which are the most prevalent strains of the HIV1 viral strain probably represent three different ‘chimpanzee to human’ HIV transmission events. I suspect though that the three subtypes of HIV1 represent not three separate ‘chimpanzee to human’ HIV infections which caused new human forms of HIV, but are in fact three different re-combinations of the original HIV1 strain within existing human HIV1 carriers who had been exposed to the new SIVcpz viral strains.
The HIV1 strain within those carriers then ‘adopted’ the new SIVcpz viruses and merged with them via viral recombination. The new subtypes of HIV1, these being HIV1 M, N, O and P within those exposed carriers were then spread via sexual contact to new people.
It is my theory that all the strains of HIV1, from HIV M which accounts for 90 % of the AIDS infections on the planet, to the very rare subtypes, all emanate from a single event involving a single person contracting HIV1 and that all other HIV subtypes are events where the original HIV1 virus encountered a new SIVcpz or SIVgor virus and re-combined with them, thereby creating the new HIV1 M, N, O and P viral subtypes or HIV2. This means that in order for a SIVcpz or SIVgor virus to become a new human HIV strain then a person who encounters the new SIVcpz virus must already have HIV1. I also suspect that humans can have an SIV or SIVgor virus present within them and that they will not develop new HIV forms unless they already have been infected by HIV1.
This process continues today with HIV1 infections spread to nations outside Africa evolving to become new HIV1 and HIV 2 variants.
In 2009, a newly-analyzed HIV sequence was reported to have greater similarity to a simian immunodeficiency virus recently discovered in wild gorillas (SIVgor) than to SIVs from chimpanzees (SIVcpz). The virus had been isolated from a Cameroonian woman residing in France who was diagnosed with HIV-1 infection in 2004. (10) (11)
This shows us that HIV1 infections evolve to become new forms of viruses, not that new chimp or gorilla to human transmissions create completely new HIV viruses in humans. Once an individual has been infected with generic HIV1 then this allows them to become incubators for new viral forms if they come into contact with new viruses.
There is something else that links all the HIV1 infections together and that is trade. All the sites of the subtypes of HIV1 were once linked together by the colonial empires of the 20th century trading with each other. This therefore offers as an idea of how the disease spread, via sailors who used prostitutes in the ports of those regions, and suggests a single point of origin for the infection prior to its export.
Now we need to try and understand how the original transmission occurred.
Dr. Ilya Ivanovich Ivanov was a Russian biologist who specialized in the field of artificial insemination and the interspecific hybridization of animals. During the early years of the Soviet Union he was tasked by Stalin to create an army of human-ape hybrids which could be used as slaves or soldiers in the communist empire.
The Wikipedia listing for Dr. Ivanov states, “ In 1924, while working at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, Ivanov obtained permission from the Institute's directors to use its experimental primate station in Kindia, French Guinea, for such an experiment. Ivanov attempted to gain backing for his project from the Soviet government. He dispatched letters to the People's Commissar on Education and Science Anatoliy Vasilievich Lunacharsky and to other officials. Ivanov's proposal finally sparked the interest of Nikolai Petrovich Gorbunov, the head of the Department of Scientific Institutions. In September 1925 Gorbunov helped allocate US$10,000 to the Academy of Sciences for Ivanov's human-ape hybridization experiments in Africa.
In March 1926 Ivanov arrived at the Kindia facility, but stayed only a month without success. The Kindia site, it turned out, had no sexually mature chimpanzees. He returned to France where he arranged through correspondence with French Guinea's colonial governor to set up experiments at the botanical gardens in Conakry.
Ivanov reached Conakry in November 1926 accompanied by his son, also named Ilya, who would assist him in his experiments. Ivanov supervised the capture of adult chimpanzees in the interior of the colony, which were brought to Conakry and kept in cages in the botanical gardens. On February 28, 1927, Ivanov artificially inseminated two female chimpanzees with human sperm (not his own or his son's). On June 25, he injected a third chimpanzee with human sperm. The Ivanovs left Africa in July with thirteen chimps, including the three used in his experiments. They already knew before leaving that the first two chimpanzees had failed to become pregnant. The third died in France, and was also found not to have been pregnant. The remaining chimps were sent to a new primate station at Sukhumi. “
Although Ivanov attempted to organize the insemination of human females with chimpanzee sperm in Guinea, these plans met with resistance from the French colonial government and there is no evidence such an experiment was arranged there.
Upon his return to the Soviet Union in 1927, Ivanov began an effort to organize hybridization experiments at Sukhumi using ape sperm and human females. Eventually in 1929, through the help of Gorbunov, he obtained the support of the Society of Materialist Biologists, a group associated with the Communist Academy. In the spring of 1929 the Society set up a commission to plan Ivanov's experiments at Sukhumi. They decided that at least five volunteer women would be needed for the project. However, in June 1929, before any inseminations had taken place, Ivanov learned that the only postpubescent male ape remaining at Sukhumi (an orangutan) had died. A new set of chimps would not arrive at Sukhumi until the summer of 1930.“
Yet this is not the whole story of what occurred at Conakry, as other sources reveal that Dr.Ivanov did attempt to inseminate human females with SIVcpz infected chimp sperm. (4)
The doctor is stated as saying, “"It is necessary not only to increase the number of experiments, artificial insemination of female chimpanzees human sperm, but also put the reciprocal experiments crossing. Last organize in Africa is much more difficult and more complex than in Europe or from us. Women who want to undergo the experience much easier to find in Europe than in Africa. “ So the doctor does not state that such experiments did not occur, only that it was harder to find female volunteers in Africa, than in Europe. Further the same article states that after an investigation of Dr.Ivanovs research by the Science department of the People's Commissars of the USSR they ruled that the experiments to inseminate humans with chimp sperm should ‘be continued’, thus implying that such experiments had already taken place.
The French colonial authorities gave permission for Dr.Ivanov to inseminate human females with chimp sperm, as long as it was done with their express permission and the procedure not undertaken in the French hospital where Dr.Ivanov was working. It is thought that Dr. Ivanov did not therefore undertake the procedure, but other evidence suggests he did. (6) (7) (8) (9)
I suggest that the experiments did go ahead and that Dr. Ivanov used the services of local prostitutes for his experiments.
In another research paper on Dr. Ivanov we find that the chimpanzees that Dr. Ivanov used in his experiments had been trapped in German South Cameroon, this being the exact area where the SIVcpz virus that became HIV1 came from. (5)
Therefore we can start to link these events together into a chronology that I suggest reveals that the origins of HIV1 is the experiments undertaken by Dr. Ivanov to inseminate humans with SIVcpz infected chimp sperm ;
1) The chimps caught by Ivanov were from German Southern Cameroon as confirmed in his writings.
2) This means they would have been infected with the specific SIVcpz virus that caused HIV1 as about 35 % of chimps in that area have that exact strain of SIVcpz. Only in that region of Southern Cameroon, where the chimps used in the experiments by Dr.Ivanov came from, does the SIVcpz strain that caused HIV1 come from.
3) The chimps were caught and used by Ivanov just before the period of the suspected transmission into humans which scientists estimate around between 1924 and 1930 - Ivanov was doing his experiments in early 1927.
4) Under French Law that applied to French colonies such as Conakry in the 1920's and 1930's, contraception and abortion were banned, thereby ensuring prostitutes did not have protective sex with clients. Therefore any female prostitute paid by Dr. Ivanov to be inseminated with SIVcpz infected chimp sperm would pass the infection on and create a 'pool' of human beings for the HIV1 infection to survive and be transmitted on.
5) Ivanov had stated many times that he intended to inseminate women with chimp sperm and that was the primary focus of his research projects both in Africa and Russia.
6) Ivanov was ORDERED by Stalin to create ape-human hybrids and could not refuse such an order - the funding he was provided by Stalin was vast, more than required for experiments simply on chimps.
7) Ivanov applied for and was granted permission to inseminate African women with chimp sperm by the French colonial adminstration
8) That Ivanov paid thousands of dollars to both male and FEMALE volunteers in his experiments, so why he pay these women - for what services other than insemination
9) The payments made were vast, the equivalent of tens of thousands of pounds today, so these women were being paid a lot of money for their services.
10) We know that in some reports Ivanov confirmed that he tried to inseminate African females and that they did not get pregnant - but we have to ask is 'was SIVcpz transmitted and became HIV1 M during these experiments'. The impregnation experiments may have failed, but they would have transmitted the SIVcpz virus.
11) The French government gave him express permission to inseminate African women but outside the hospital where he was working - in other words, he had to keep it quiet and low key. Therefore we know that he asked to do so and was given permission to do so.
12) That the idea that Ivanov would go to Africa and not inseminate African women, which had been the primary focus of his research both before the trip and after it when he returned to Russia where he intended to inseminate Russian women, is an unlikely one - he had to do as Stalin ordered.
13) The chimps he caught and used in the insemination experiments in Conakry were sick and almost all of them died after a short time when he returned to Russia - and this sickness was probably CHIMP SIVcpz. This thereby provides evidence for the contention that the chimps were sick with SIVcpz before they were used in the experiments and hence able to have passed the SIVcpz infection on during the experiments
14) That the description of the deaths of the chimps in Russia in Ivanovs writings suggest classic Chimp SIVcpz symptoms such as Tuberculosis and wasting diseases.
15) That chimp SIV is able to be spread via chimp semen.
16) Therefore that SIVcpz in chimp semen inseminated into a human female could have passed into her body, as many viruses are known to be able to easily transfer between species. This would also have been more likely if the female was resisting the procedure and damage to the vaginal wall facilitated the transmission.
17) The SIVcpz could have been absorbed through the membrane of the female vagina during the experiments.
18) That a prostitute infected with SIVcpz that became HIV1 as a result of the experiments, and who then spread the infection into a wider pool of her clients is far more likely as a carrier / transmitter of HIV1 than the present 'Bushmeat / Cut Theory'. The fact that the source of the HIV1 infection is thought to be Kinshasa suggests that the prostitute infected with HIV1 by Ivanov was based in Kinshasa, another part of the former French colonial empire in Africa, where the virus then spread out from.
19) That the HIV1 virus if it had been found only in those rare individuals infected via a cut from bushmeat, would probably not have transmitted out of that person or area - especially if they were hunters in the forest or married men or women. The spread of HIV1 and variants is most common even today in prostitutes and was spread via prostitutes in Africa and therefore Occams Razor requires the prostitute idea as the source / storage / transmitter of the HIV1 virus to be the most likely scenario. The fact that Arvid Noe contracted HIV 1 O in Cameroon in the 1960’s shows us the virus had evolved from the original HIV1 to this new form. The idea that each new variant of HIV1 represents a new form of HIV caused by a ‘Bush meat and Cut’ incident is so unlikely, that just one source of HIV from the original sole SIVcpz is the progenitor of all later HIV1 variants from HIV1 to HIV2. My theory is that people already living with the virus were exposed to new strains of the disease via eating bush meat and due to viral recombination the virus then mutated to merge with the new strains they encountered.
20) That the survival of the virus from 1930 to the present in the Cameroon suggests that a pool of people had to be storing and spreading the virus generation after generation and this would have to be prostitutes.
We can also now begin to piece the story together.
The initial transmission event had to involve SIVcpz infected chimpanzees from Southern Cameroon between 1924 and 1930.
Whilst human beings have been hunting, killing, dismembering and eating chimpanzees and apes for hundreds of thousands of years up until 1924-1930 there had been no HIV infections suggests that the ‘Bush meat and Cut Theory’ is wrong. An unusual transmission event had to have occurred between 1924 and 1930 that involved SIVcpz infected chimps and human beings. This is further confirmed in the discovery that the SIV virus is at least 32,000 years old - and therefore the virus should have spread to human being long before the 20th century origin point. (14)
The only such event, and unique both in human and chimpanzee history, were the attempts by Dr. Ivanov at Conakry to inseminate human females with SIVcpz infected chimpanzee sperm from February 1927 to July 1927.
It is these events that led to the transmission of SIVcpz into humans and to its evolution into HIV1. The HIV1 virus then had to be spread from that single infection and out into the wider human population. The only way it could have done that is via sexual contact. The most successful dissemination of the new HIV1 virus would have been through prostitutes and their clients. This constant contact with new clients also allowed those with HIV1 infections caught from prostitutes to come into contact with new SIVcpz and SIVgor viruses and evolve into new forms of HIV1 and also pass them on. Those exposed to SIVcpz and SIVgor infections from bush meat, and who also had HIV1, would merge their HIV1 and newly acquired SIVcpz and SIVgor infections to create the new HIV1 variants.
One can imagine a scenario where hunters or loggers in the forests who had already picked up HIV1 would come into contact with new SIV infections whilst hunting for food, become infected with the new virus and then would return to camps or towns where they would use prostitutes thereby spreading the new infections. It may be that the weakening of the human immune system caused by HIV1 infection allows SIV infections to jump easier into human beings.
It is obvious be that human beings have been exposed quite often in history to SIVcpz viruses but that they have never developed into HIV infections. The amount of times that humans must have cut themselves and been exposed to SIV infected blood from apes and monkeys throughout history during hunting and cooking suggests that if simple exposure to SIV viruses in the blood of chimps or apes was sufficient to contract an HIV infection, then there should be many different HIV strains in humans corresponding to every known SIV virus and that HIV should also have been present throughout human history. But this is not what has happened.
SIV in chimps became HIV in humans less than 80 years ago and the new HIV variant strains have only appeared since then. It may be that once a human has HIV1 and the immune system is weakened that they then become more susceptible to absorbing new SIV infections when they encounter them in the blood of killed chimpanzees and apes, with the existing HIV1 infection acting as a ‘door’ and a ‘halfway house’ for the new SIV virus to enter the body.
It may be that the mechanism of transmission in the experiments of Dr. Ivanov contains
the true secret of why the SIVcpz virus managed to become HIV1. The infected chimpanzee sperm used by Dr. Ivanov to try and inseminate the women was of course injected into the vagina. We know that HIV1 simultaneously penetrates two different kinds of cells in the vaginal epithelium (the outer lining of vaginal cells) linked to the immune system these being the Langerhans cells and CD4+ T-cells. Both of these cell types can move out of the vaginal epithelium. Perhaps it required SIVcpz to be transmitted via these cells in the vaginal epithelium to ensure it could become HIV in humans. (13)
There are people who now have more than one form of HIV1 infection. In 2003 genetic tests from an HIV-positive woman revealed that she was infected with two separate HIV strains that then combined to produce a hybrid that took over from the original virus(12).
Therefore the evolution of HIV1 is still continuing into ‘superinfections’.
Yet this process began less than 80 years ago as a result of a unique situation in human and chimpanzee evolutionary history.
Therefore I would suggest that the experiments of Dr. Ivanov could be the basis of the initial transmission of SIVcpz into human beings and the birth of HIV1.
(5) Kirill Rossiianov, Beyond Species: Il’ya Ivanov and His Experiments on Cross-Breeding Humans with Anthropoid Apes, Science in Context, 2002