MAR 06, 2015 7:45 AM PST

Gorillas are the source of 50% of HIV strains, study says

WRITTEN BY: Robert Woodard
Western lowland gorilla
There are 4 known groups of HIV strains that affect humans. Two of them originated in western lowland gorillas in Africa, according to a report by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania published in the March 2 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The international research team screened fecal samples from eastern lowland gorillas, western lowland gorillas, and mountain gorillas in Cameroon, Gabon, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo for signs of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection.

The 4 known groups of HIV-1 strains are referred to as M, N, O and P. Other studies have found that groups M and N originated in chimpanzee in southern Cameroon, but the origin of the O and P strains has been uncertain. Now the Penn team has found that the O and P groups also originated in Cameroon, but in western lowland gorillas.

All 4 groups of HIV strains can infect humans. The group M strain was responsible for the AIDS epidemic that killed millions of people worldwide. The group O strain has also infected a large number of people in Africa (approximately 100,000). So far, the other two groups (N and P) have only been identified in a handful of individuals in Cameroon.

Dr. Beatrice Hahn, a professor of medicine and microbiology at Penn and a member of the research team explained that viral sequencing revealed a high degree of genetic diversity among the different gorilla samples and that two lineages of SIV were especially close to HIV groups O and P, indicating that those groups originated in western lowland gorillas.

This study and others that the team has conducted have made it clear that both chimpanzees and gorillas harbor viruses that are capable of crossing the species barrier to humans and have the potential to cause major disease outbreaks. The results of these studies are critical for understanding origins of emerging disease and gauging the risk of future human infection.

Source: www.redorbit.com
About the Author
You May Also Like
FEB 07, 2020
Neuroscience
FEB 07, 2020
Eating Fruits and Vegetables May Lower Alzheimer's Risk
New research has found that flavonols, a large class of compounds present in many fruits and vegetables, may be linked t ...
MAR 23, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
MAR 23, 2020
Top 5 Candidates for Coronavirus Vaccine Around the World
It’s easy to complain about the role of big pharma in medicine-making and the hassle of dealing with protective pa ...
APR 22, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
APR 22, 2020
Only 3% of COVID-19 Antibody Tests Approved by FDA
So far, only 3% of at least 90 COVID-19 antibody tests in the US have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration ...
APR 26, 2020
Microbiology
APR 26, 2020
Researchers Design A Polio Vaccine That Won't Cause Polio
Sustained, intense efforts to vaccinate were getting the world very close to eradicating polio, but the vaccine itself o ...
MAY 21, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
MAY 21, 2020
Molecular 'Switch' Makes Autoimmune Drugs Fight Cancer
Researchers from the Antibody and Vaccine Group at the University of Southampton, England, have identified a way to repu ...
MAY 16, 2020
Neuroscience
MAY 16, 2020
Stem Cell Method (Parkinson's) Could Avoid Transplant Rejection
Researchers at McLean Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have tested a stem cell treatment method that av ...
Loading Comments...