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This chapter analyzes the genealogy of Edward Hooper’s hypothesis that a vaccine trial in the African Belgian colonies caused the species-jump resulting in HIV. The confusing intentions, unclear lines of analysis, and powerful interests inflected in the subsequent discussions opens space for challenging the belief that the vaccine contamination question has been resolved. The reduction of Hooper’s oral polio vaccine (OPV) hypothesis to a “conspiracy theory” rather than a plausible counterfactual results in a missed opportunity to read his book The River as one of the few detailed accounts written of the immense social, political, technological, and interspecies infrastructure constituted by Cold War vaccine production. The chapter interrogates the relationship between historiography and the making of scientific facts, suggesting that historians have been too credulous of scientists’ testimony.

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