Forms Of HIV Can Spread From Chimpanzees To Humans

By Elizabeth Anderson, Parent Herald July 25, 08:41 am

A new study has supported the previous theory that human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in chimpanzees can be transmitted to humans. The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and published in the Journal of Virology.

Zee News reported that the prevailing theory was it was probably in the early 1900s when hunters or vendors of bush meat likely contracted the first strain of a simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) or the ancestor of HIV from chimpanzees, which carry SIV. The SIV virus from the chimpanzee could have reportedly entered the body of humans through a cut or bite wound.

Mice Used In HIV Study

"The question was whether SIV strains that have not been found in humans have the potential to cause another HIV-like infection," said senior author Qingsheng Li, as per a report Science Daily. Li, an associate professor of biological sciences, added that the results showed that the strains did have the potential to trigger an HIV-like infection and were able to replicate at a very high level.

Li and other researchers used mice in their study, implanting the animals with human tissues and stem cells. The researchers reportedly injected these mice with low doses of SIV strains including the ancestor of HIV-1 M which caused the HIV pandemic and the strain of HIV endemic to Cameroon.

Ancestor Of Virus Causing HIV Pandemic Infected Mice More

Compared to two other SIV strains, the strain which is the predecessor of today's HIV pandemic-causing virus and the strain specific to Cameroon "required fewer opportunities to infect the mice than the SIV strains whose HIV descendants have not been found in humans," reported the Daily Mail.

As quoted in the report, Li said that the differences between strains may mean a difference in cross-species transmission when humans are exposed to various strains of the virus. The researchers also found that the virus undergoes mutations upon entering human cells.

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