Is the ‘poliovirus’ the cause of infantile paralysis/polio? Or is it an ancient and harmless companion of the human race?
All the evidence suggests the latter:
1 It had been around humans for thousands of years and in nature only reproduces in human throats or guts. Such viruses are normally totally harmless, since we have become adapted to them and they to us. It lived in the dirt ingested by human infants, and did not hurt them. Instead it helped activate their immune system, giving them a stronger resistance to illness.
2 If it were the dangerous pathogen that causes infantile paralysis, then it would be more common in countries with infantile paralysis epidemics, and less common in countries with no infantile paralysis epidemics. But the reverse is true.
3 To say it causes polio may violate one of the most famous laws of virology. These are called the Koch Postulates. They set up the rules for declaring a disease to be caused by a virus . The 1st Postulate states that the virus must be found in every case of the disease as defined by its symptoms – but the poliovirus was not always present in such cases of poliomyelitis.
4 It widely infects children without causing them any illness. The Koch Postulates lay down that if it causes a disease, it should do so whenever it infects.
5 It seemed mostly to infect the cleanest children of middle-class parents. Infectious viruses are not supposed to behave in this way: they are indiscriminate as to social class, and do not thrive in conditions of good hygiene. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has published a theory to explain this extraordinary behaviour. The children of US middle-class parents were uniquely liable to fall ill with infantile paralysis because in their infancy parents kept them away from the dirt in which the virus lives.
This meant these children were not infected when it was safest – while protected by their mothers’ milk. Once again, the case against the polio virus….this theory contradicted everything known about infectious illness: good hygiene nearly always stops epidemics; with infantile paralysis, the CDC argued, good hygiene was the cause. Furthermore, the CDC’s theory was based on the assumption that working-class children are uniquely exposed to ordinary dirt. Yet surely middle-class children also go out into the garden? The theory was also conceived without checking medical reports on the early epidemics of infantile paralysis.
Referring to a 1908 epidemic in Massachusetts, US health inspector Herbert Emerson noted that most cases occurred in households with no sewers and low hygiene. If the CDC’s theory was sound these children would have had antibodies and been immune to polio. In reality, they were the ones who fell ill.
6 If guilty of causing paralysis, it would have to travel from the gut through the formidable blood-brain barrier that protects our brains and spinal cords. We still have not observed it doing this, despite many decades of intense research.
7 It is rarely found in human blood – the easiest route from the gut to the blood-brain barrier. Yet this is where Jonas Salk’s vaccine was supposed to intercept it.
8 It has never been observed reproducing in victims’ motor neurone cells.
An alternative proposition
Poliomyelitis researcher Dr Ralph Scobey suggested in 1954 a reason why viruses might be found on damaged motor neuron cells in cases of infantile paralysis. He posited that the body itself might activate or produce these viruses , perhaps when under threat or to clean up cellular damage.
While ‘the fundamental cause of human poliomyelitis appears to be a poison or toxin’, Scobey said, ‘the virus is synthesised or activated within the human body as a result of the poisoning’.
He suggested that the virus might remain ‘ dormant’ within cells until something activates it. We now know that the poliovirus can be dormant. It is also widely known that toxic-damaged tissues attract viruses. One of the standard tests for toxins, the Ames Assay, utilises the fact that if viruses mutate and multiply in the presence of a certain amount of a chemical then that amount is dangerously toxic.
Scobey went on to list anti-toxins that had proved effective in curing polio, citing 11 scientific papers written between 1936 and 1949.