MAR 06, 2015 07:45 AM PST

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

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
OCT 24, 2018
Cardiology
OCT 24, 2018
Red Meat Has Been Linked To Increased Risk Of Heart Disease
Researchers have long suspected that allergens can trigger immunological responses that might have an association with plaque buildup and arterial blockage...
NOV 05, 2018
Immunology
NOV 05, 2018
Amino Acid Helps to Promote T cells
Scientists at Vanderbilt show that the amino acid glutamine can contribute to a subset of T cell function and activation...
NOV 19, 2018
Cell & Molecular Biology
NOV 19, 2018
How Mitochondria can Help the Cell Fight Pathogens
Some pathogens can get around out bodies' natural defense mechanisms. So our body developed a Plan B....
DEC 08, 2018
Health & Medicine
DEC 08, 2018
Chronic Fatigue: Where Are We in Our Understanding?
  Ask anyone who suffers from an autoimmune disease or fibromyalgia about the most challenging aspect of their condition, and the answer will be unani...
JAN 15, 2019
Immunology
JAN 15, 2019
A Possible Key to Severe Flu
By studying the impact that NPY and its receptor Y1R have on influenza in mice, the research group has now discovered that NPY produced in lung phagocytes can aggravate influenza....
JAN 15, 2019
Immunology
JAN 15, 2019
Unconventional T Cells
Spondyloarthritis is one of the most common types of chronic joint inflammation affecting nearly 1-2 percent of the Western population. Scientists report that rare populations of unconvention...
Loading Comments...