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
AUG 05, 2020
Immunology
Intercepting Cancer Cells Before They Can Dodge the Immune System
AUG 05, 2020
Intercepting Cancer Cells Before They Can Dodge the Immune System
The battle that naturally occurs between the body’s immune system and cancerous cells is one that scientists have ...
SEP 06, 2020
Microbiology
Small Changes in Vaccine Molecules Could Make Them More Effective
SEP 06, 2020
Small Changes in Vaccine Molecules Could Make Them More Effective
Effective vaccines have to trigger an immune response, which is intended to create an immune 'memory' of a specific infe ...
OCT 12, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
The Malaria Parasite Can Change Host Cell Genetics
OCT 12, 2020
The Malaria Parasite Can Change Host Cell Genetics
Mosquitoes can transmit the malaria-causing Plasmodium parasite to humans. Malaria was estimated to have caused the deat ...
OCT 12, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Researchers Solve Key Problem for Cancer Immunotherapy
OCT 12, 2020
Researchers Solve Key Problem for Cancer Immunotherapy
Cancer immunotherapies are becoming increasingly promising as a standard-of-care treatment. However, despite their promi ...
OCT 24, 2020
Immunology
New CRISPR-Based Imaging Tool Is Going to Be HiUGE
OCT 24, 2020
New CRISPR-Based Imaging Tool Is Going to Be HiUGE
A team of researchers at Duke University have developed an imaging technology for tagging structures at a cellular level ...
NOV 05, 2020
Immunology
Immune cells from recovered COVID-19 patients can help protect immunocompromised individuals against infection
NOV 05, 2020
Immune cells from recovered COVID-19 patients can help protect immunocompromised individuals against infection
Our knowledge of COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2 is increasing every day, with new research papers published continuously. Resear ...
Loading Comments...