Link to HIV found in gorillas


Photo Credit: alvaroparis via Flickr

For the first time scientist have connected the dots to the HIV-1 virus, the most prevalent strain in humans, to gorillas.
A Cameroon woman, living in Paris, was recently found to have a strain of HIV that more closely resembles SIV (Simian Immunodeficiency Virus) than HIV and it is the first time that such a strain has been found in humans.
Researchers say they expect to find more people carrying that particular strain.
Study co-author Dr David Robertson, from the University of Manchester, told the BBC that this is the first definitive transfer of HIV from a source other than chimpanzees.
He said: "This demonstrates that HIV evolution is an ongoing process.
"The virus can jump from species to species, from primate to primate, and that includes us; pathogens have been with us for millions of years and routinely switch host species."

Several weeks back Scientists working with chimpanzees think that they found the missing link to what causes HIV to infect some hosts and cause no outward problems versus eventual death.  

They were studying chimps that had been infected with SIV and found that most of those infected had no outward signs of progressing illness, while others infected with the same strain faced a much higher rate of death.  Scientists are hoping that they can find the link between why some chimps are so affected whilst others aren't to develop a vaccine to counteract HIV.
Could these recent findings help move us along faster to developing an HIV Vaccine?

Filed under: Health

Tags: chimps, gorillas, hiv, vaccine, WBTD archives


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