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Medicine Science

New HIV Strain Discovered 263

Posted by kdawson
from the evolution-in-action dept.
reporter and barnyjr were among the readers alerting us to the discovery of a new strain of the HIV virus, found in a woman from the west central African nation of Cameroon. "It differs from the three known strains of human immunodeficiency virus and appears to be closely related to a form of simian virus recently discovered in wild gorillas, researchers report in Monday's edition of the journal Nature Medicine. ... The most likely explanation for the new find is gorilla-to-human transmission, Plantier's team said. But... they cannot rule out the possibility that the new strain started in chimpanzees and moved into gorillas and then humans, or moved directly from chimpanzees to both gorillas and humans. ... Researchers said it could be circulating unnoticed in Cameroon or elsewhere. The virus's rapid replication indicates that it is adapted to human cells, the researchers reported."
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New HIV Strain Discovered

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 03, 2009 @08:09AM (#28925349)

    Somewhere, someone was either very desperate, brave, stupid or all of the above to be getting busy with a gorilla.

    • by hesaigo999ca (786966) on Monday August 03, 2009 @08:32AM (#28925557) Homepage Journal

      Sometimes, love has no barriers...or cupid just does not know that bestiality is a no,no.

      • by SkyDude (919251)

        Sometimes, love has no barriers...

        Taylor:"Doctor, I'd like to kiss you"

        Zira:"Alright....but, you're so damned ugly...."

    • Maybe he was desperate for a fix of heroin and used the gorilla's dirty works.

    • by Fross (83754) on Monday August 03, 2009 @09:20AM (#28926067) Homepage

      Given the rate of infection is much higher in the, ahem, receiver of bodily fluids, than the giver, it is much more likely that it wasn't the human who had the predatory sexual instincts.

      Yikes. :/ Raped by a gorilla and given Simian aids.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Somewhere, someone was either very desperate, brave, stupid or all of the above to be getting busy with a gorilla.

      You forgot drunk.

    • by TerranFury (726743) on Monday August 03, 2009 @09:34AM (#28926273)
      Maybe the transmission happened when somebody ate the gorilla (or prepared the raw meat)? This seems more likely than interspecies sex.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by MBGMorden (803437)

        More likely the preparation. IIRC, the HIV virus really isn't that hardy outside of a host - cooking the meat likely would have eliminated the infection (and again, IIRC, HIV can generally only be caught orally through and open sore or such in the mouth - it won't survive the conditions in the stomach to infect the host).

        • by cromar (1103585)

          HIV can generally only be caught orally through an open sore or such in the mouth

          There, fixed that for you!

        • Great. I see the newspaper headline. Open sores: Danger for African people? Ballmer's second Christmas?
      • Yes, but it's a more boring explanation, so people are going to ignore it.

      • by Moraelin (679338)

        Maybe the transmission happened when somebody ate the gorilla

        Now, now... as long as it was between consenting adults, there's no need to be prudes about it ;)

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by interkin3tic (1469267)

        Maybe the transmission happened when somebody ate the gorilla (or prepared the raw meat)? This seems more likely than interspecies sex.

        The two aren't really mutually exclusive. Trust me.

      • Or someone was just beaten (and bitten) by a Gorilla, who got bored and left? Or the person manages to reach for the gun and shoots the gorilla?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by dbet (1607261)
      Or a gorilla scratched or bit him.
    • by kalirion (728907) on Monday August 03, 2009 @10:07AM (#28926759)

      People, people, please remember that when you are having sex with a gorilla, you are also having sex with every gorilla that gorilla has ever had sex with!

      [paraphrased from Night Stand]

    • by Moraelin (679338) on Monday August 03, 2009 @10:55AM (#28927479) Journal

      Somewhere, someone was either very desperate, brave, stupid or all of the above to be getting busy with a gorilla.

      That or it was from a country where the most you'll see of your bride before you've bought it, or of anyone else's wife at all, is akin to a gant cloth dildo with a small netted slit at eye level. So, you know, you could pay four camels to Abdul for his daughter, and maybe she'll be as ugly as the last one when you take the burqa off, or you could get a gorilla for free and you know what you're getting ;)

      And if you keep it clothed, nobody would probably even notice. I mean, I can just see it:

      Achmed: "Say, Hassan, did your wives just go 'ook, ook'?"
      Hassan: "Erm, they're foreign. Haven't learned the language yet."
      Achmed: "And by Allah, look at that one. She's broader shouldered than the two of us together."
      Hassan: "Yeah, I bought me big wife so she can bear me lots of children. Ha ha."
      Achmed: "If you say so..."

      Come to think of it, it would make a good marketing slogan: Burqas, helping ugly chicks get laid wherever alcohol is forbidden ;)

    • What makes you so sure it was a dude?

    • by sabernet (751826)

      Flash: You're free. He[Gorilla Grodd] can't control you anymore.
      Cowin: He wasn't controlling me, we were in love!
      Flash: Internet romance.*shrug*

  • Risk (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The most likely explanation for the new find is gorilla-to-human transmission

    So you'll be able to spot those at greatest risk by the way they are walking?

  • How? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Monday August 03, 2009 @08:10AM (#28925355)

    How would HIV be transmitted from a gorilla to humans?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Lilo-x (93462)

      hunting and eating,

    • Re:How? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Vectronic (1221470) on Monday August 03, 2009 @08:17AM (#28925423)

      During hunting most likely, get a cut from a branch/rock/weapon/etc, then get the blood from the gorilla in the cut, or get bitten/attacked by the gorilla itself. Could also be transmitted through eating (really I don't know fuck all about it), I imagine that a lot of people there (or "here" for that matter) have gum/teeth problems, perhaps an open wound or sore in the mouth from something, add that to improperly (or uncooked) meat, voila.

      • To paraphrase Ricky Gervais, 'at least that's the excuse I would have given'

    • Re:How? (Score:5, Funny)

      by ferd_farkle (208662) on Monday August 03, 2009 @08:18AM (#28925429)

      Killing, butchering, and eating your own meat involves a great deal of blood.

    • Re:How? (Score:5, Funny)

      by noundi (1044080) on Monday August 03, 2009 @08:18AM (#28925435)

      Gorilla mage casts HIV.
      You take 23 damage!
      You're poisoned!

      And that's how babies are made.

    • by Shikaku (1129753)

      There are stories of primates raping humans.

      Who said it has to be bestiality?

      • There are stories of primates raping humans.

        Who said it has to be bestiality?

        I'd be skeptical of such stories, because they could plausibly be (shudder) bestiality rape erotica.

        Not saying it definitely never happens, I'm just saying the wretched, amazing human imagination strikes me as the more likely cause of such stories.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Wain13001 (1119071)

          Good point.

          You will notice that the places where such stories tend to occur are the same places where "witches steal men's penises" and the like. Somehow I find myself having doubts as well.

        • Rule 34 writ large.

      • by iluvcapra (782887)
        Sounds like the West African spin on the old incubus myths to me. If a girl wanted an abortion, it'd probably be much easier for her to claim she was carrying a gorilla child, rather than a cad's, or her uncle's...
    • Re:How? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by CarpetShark (865376) on Monday August 03, 2009 @08:25AM (#28925491)

      Sex, needle sharing, blood transfusion, or breast feeding. Take your pick.

      Seriously... I'd guess biting or something like that. There's more here:

      http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/factsheets/transmission.htm [cdc.gov]

    • by squoozer (730327)

      I'm guessing it was probably from blood getting into a cut / mouth rather than a misguided attempt to create an ape / human hybrid if you catch my drift. If you ever hunt something you will find out that like humans animals, as a general rule, don't want to die. This leads to a lot of blood, thrashing about and noise where you can easily end up cut. Even when they are dead there are risks as even a small animal has a surprising amount of blood in it which for some reason wants to spread itself liberally abo

      • Re:How? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by neokushan (932374) on Monday August 03, 2009 @08:43AM (#28925659)

        Somebody once told me, and by somebody I mean someone that should actually be knowledgeable about the subject (Zoology expert), that apparently our DNA is close enough to some primates that it IS possible to have offspring with them, similar to how Lions and Tigers can have offspring (of course most animal hybrids are usually sterile), but nobody's ever tried it for a plethora of reasons (mostly moral ones).

        Now this leads me to 2 points:

        1) If anyone has any facts or data relating to this little tidbit of information that either proves or disproves it, please post a link or two! I'm very intrigued to know if he is actually right.

        2) If this is IS true, then we can probably put this whole idea of someone fucking a Monkey and catching AIDS to rest, since by and large there would HAVE to have been a monkey/human hybrid born at some point, which I don't think has ever happened (despite supposedly being possible).

        • Re:How? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by rainmaestro (996549) on Monday August 03, 2009 @09:38AM (#28926323)

          I'd have to go back into journals to find exact articles, but here is what I remember from my Primatology courses:

          (1) Human/Chimp hybrid experiments have been done, by a Soviet researcher in the early 20th Century. No offspring were ever produced.

          (2) Recent research (2000+) suggests that we did breed with chimps regularly in the period following the initial divergence. As time goes on and we continue to diverge, it becomes less feasible.

          Not very specific, but it wasn't a topic we covered in any real depth.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by squoozer (730327)

          IANABiologist but I've studied some biology. AIUI the DNA is quite similar but breeding is about more than just the DNA. I doubt that the other machinery necessary to produce viable off spring is sufficiently compatible. Wikipedia sheds more light on the possibility of the humanzee http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humanzee [wikipedia.org]

        • do you have any idea how strong a chimpanzee or a gorilla is? we're not talking about a placid herbivore here, we're talking 100+ pounds of pure muscle, sinew and razor sharp canines. this is not an environment in which any bestiality can possibly occur. i think sex with a shark would be easier, seriously

          the whole aids-was-from-sex-with-a-monkey line of thought is pure high school sophomore stupidity. way more 4chan than actual plausible science

          bushmeat is what it is: a messy stew of tropical disease waitin

          • And no, I can't claim credit for the name. That belongs to a friend of mine named Dov who resides in Las Vegas, and is a very large Jewish man. The poem it goes with is brilliant.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            While I agree that transmission was almost certainly not sexual, and very much agree that gorillas(as with most of the larger non-human primates) are not to be trifled with, I'm not sure your conclusion follows.

            A dolphin could drown the best human swimmer with only modest effort; but swimming and interacting with them is pretty safe because they are (mostly) friendly social animals. Pissing them off would be a bad plan; but getting along with them isn't too hard. In a similar vein, trying to rape a goril
        • Re:How? (Score:5, Informative)

          by smellsofbikes (890263) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:08AM (#28927643) Journal
          Very unlikely. Humans have one fewer pair of chromosomes [wikipedia.org] than any of the other primates (because two of their chromosomes fused to form one of ours) and a bunch of chromosomes have long sequences that are inverted compared to other primates' sequences. That's not to say it couldn't happen: horses and mules have a 1pair difference, and manage to produce (mostly sterile) offspring regularly, but that's rare. And, as someone else said and is discussed in more detail in the wholly wonderful book Elephants On Acid [amazon.com], scientists in the old Soviet Union tried repeatedly to make human/chimp hybrids using artificial insemination in volunteers, and never had any success. There have been documented cases of primates raping humans, as well, but again, no documented offspring. (There's a very creepy scene in -- I believe -- Farley Mowat's Woman In The Mists where he describes a woman researcher working for Diane Fossey being raped by a chimp while other researchers stood and watched. I know it was her group, but I don't remember if it was his book that discussed it.)
        • It would be so cool if the Centaur sceletons of Volos [si.edu] were real

        • by GooberToo (74388)

          There actually is a documentary about this very subject. It was spurred by the discovery of a chimp that had very human like features; including a difference in facial features and its hip bones allowing for a slightly more human-like posture and stride. It was eventually confirmed by DNA testing it was a mutant and not a human-chimp hybrid. Nonetheless, as a result of the associated exploration of the subject matter, modern consensus is that man is generically too far apart to successfully breed with ape,

      • God-schmod, I want my monkey man!

    • by PCM2 (4486)

      Most diseases of humans (but not all) are believed to be zoonoses, meaning they have crossed over from animals to humans. We refer to a certain form of the influenza virus as "bird flu," but that's not really accurate, as all forms of influenza are believed to have originated with birds. It's hard to imagine a human getting sneezed on by a duck and coming down with the flu, but the transmission only needs to happen somewhere once for the disease to have a shot at viability amongst human populations.

      • by decoy256 (1335427)

        as all forms of influenza are believed to have originated with birds.

        Is that why it's called the "flu"? Har Har Har.

    • That's common retarded badmouthing: 'Because they're Africans they must be "oh-so-primitive".'

      As the summary states, it is very optimized for humans, and so very likely started in humans too. Which also makes more (common) sense.

    • by mypalmike (454265)

      One theory is that HIV/AIDS spread to humans through vaccinations cultured in simian tissue. [whale.to]

  • Gorilla (Score:4, Informative)

    by dintech (998802) on Monday August 03, 2009 @08:10AM (#28925357)

    It is believed that HIV jumped to humans eating gorilla meat. Note to self, no more gorilla burgers.

  • by kurt555gs (309278) <(kurt555gs) (at) (ovi.com)> on Monday August 03, 2009 @08:14AM (#28925397) Homepage

    A man and his wife are at the zoo, when the man notices a large male gorilla leering at his wife. The man tells his wife, look, that gorilla is really hot for you, show him some skin. Just joking, the wife flashes the gorilla, and it makes the beast bang on the cage, jump up and down and bellow. Just then, the man opens the door to his cage, throws the wife in, and says "now, tell him you have a headache".

  • What scares me (Score:2, Interesting)

    by boliboboli (1447659)
    Is when some new strain of HIV becomes more easily transmittable.
  • by Artifakt (700173) on Monday August 03, 2009 @08:24AM (#28925489)

    1. The index patient is from Cameroon, but was living in France at the time of discovery.
    2. The patient did not eat gorilla meat personally, by her testimony, and it is likely the mode of transmission to her was from an as yet unidentified male human. She is probably several transmissions removed from the person we would designate the true patient Zero, and that hypothetical person probably is (or was) in Cameroon, and was initially exposed in Cameroon.
    3. the patient does not have AIDS symptoms at this time. Best guess is this strain will produce loss of immune function with time if untreated, and will probably respond to the same treatments as the more established strains.
    4. This strain could be slower or quicker to go to symptomatic state, not react to some drugs the same, or otherwise vary, but there's no particular reason to expect any super plague or drug resistant strain.

  • by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquare@NoSpaM.gmail.com> on Monday August 03, 2009 @08:32AM (#28925555) Homepage Journal

    the woman was 62 when she was diagnosed in 2004

    meaning, this could be an old strain of aids. by "old" i mean it could have been in the human population for a long time

    i hypothesize this simply because the woman is still alive (assuming she wasn't infected 2 years ago) and mild disease is a sign of an "old" disease

    the fate of all diseases and all parasites is equilibrium with its hosts. it does no good to kill off your host so quickly there's no retransmission. so after an initial sickle swinging period of mass slaughter, the strains of any disease that dominate will be those who tend to be more mild, simply because by killing less faster, they spread wider and therefore survive longer

    so most likely its not the stand or 28 days later we're talking here

    • by PCM2 (4486) on Monday August 03, 2009 @08:44AM (#28925669) Homepage

      the fate of all diseases and all parasites is equilibrium with its hosts. it does no good to kill off your host so quickly there's no retransmission. so after an initial sickle swinging period of mass slaughter, the strains of any disease that dominate will be those who tend to be more mild, simply because by killing less faster, they spread wider and therefore survive longer

      This is a popular myth. It is true of some diseases but not of others.

      Consider that not all diseases require human-to-human transmission. Some can be transmitted via non-human vectors, for instance mosquito bites. In those cases, the human does not need to be healthy enough to travel, or to come in contact with other humans. The mosquito takes care of that part, so the human can become very sick, very rapidly, without threatening the viability of the disease. Malaria, for example, is ancient, but has shown no signs of becoming less virulent with time. Similarly, the bubonic plague has not evolved to become less deadly since the major outbreaks of antiquity; we simply know more about how to treat it when it does occur.

      • in the case of malaria, it is the host itself which evolves mitigating factors, such as the sickle cell gene, which has evolved 3 different times in 3 different variations in africa, the mediterranean and southeast asia

        but yes, with diseases that are not directly transmitted between hosts of the same species, there is no need to dampen fatality. but then the interspecies mode of transmission is a form of dampening in and of itself

      • But malaria is(relatively speaking) slow to kill and in your example the disease still requires humans to stay alive with malaria to survive because although humans are not the vector they are still the resevoir(almost all strains of malaria only affect humans, not other animals)

        Probably a better example would be lyme disease, the disease can affect deer and mice(and other mammals) and is carried by ticks. Even if the disease destroys humans quickly, the fact that deer and mice can continue to carry the
        • by PCM2 (4486)

          Another classic example is cholera, which is transmitted by human feces (particularly when it contaminates water supplies). The more diarrhea, the better for the cholera organism, so cholera strains tend to be very virulent.

          Another example is anthrax, which can live outside of a host organism for a long time by becoming a spore and remaining in soil. Because of this capability, anthrax doesn't really care if it runs out of host animals; it just waits for more to come along later.

          The point is that while the

    • by jamesh (87723)

      the woman was 62 when she was diagnosed in 2004

      meaning, this could be an old strain of aids. by "old" i mean it could have been in the human population for a long time

      Of course. Because 62 year old post menopausal women who don't need to worry about getting pregnant anymore don't engage in behavior that might increase the risk of transmission of STD's, so obviously she's had it for years and it's been circulating in the community for years and we're just hearing about it now.

      Or maybe you read the article and I didn't and I'm wrongly chastising you for making the assumption that she must have acquired it long ago because she's 'past it' now... either way is good for me :)

    • While you're on the right track, it's not that easy. How widely a given disease spreads is dependent on a lot of factors.

      Yes, a long incubation period helps spreading it far. But so would ease of propagation. HIV is amongst the diseases that spread fairly badly. It requires the direct exposure of your body fluids to other fluids to initiate a transfer. This is about as "hard" as it gets. There are only two ways, aside of those invented by modern medicine (i.e. blood transfer and IVs), namely sexual intercou

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ukyoCE (106879)

      the fate of all diseases and all parasites is equilibrium with its hosts. it does no good to kill off your host so quickly there's no retransmission.

      That's very optimistic of you, but not at all how nature works. Yes, for a slow-enough action things will balance out. But there's nothing in nature to prevent a fast-spreading disease from wiping out an entire population.

      The same is true of predators. A pack of wolves WILL eat the deer population to extinction in an area, and then go extinct itself if it can't find other meat. The wolves don't take a regular population tally and decide to cut back on meat and reproducing until the deer repopulate.

      The b

    • by Chris Burke (6130)

      i hypothesize this simply because the woman is still alive (assuming she wasn't infected 2 years ago) and mild disease is a sign of an "old" disease

      Not necessarily by any means. 'Mild' can mean a sign of any number of things, such as being very new and poorly adapted to attacking humans.

      And HIV itself is only recently known in humans. The 'standard' version we are familiar with is anything but an 'old' disease with respect to humans. And yet it seems almost perfectly adapted to spreading and surviving whi

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Great, someone shared their dirty heroin needle with a gorilla... Come on people!

  • The V already stands for virus, ranking 'HIV Virus' up there with 'PIN Number' and 'ATM Machine'. I would hope that a tech site like Slashdot, used to dealing with acronyms, would do better.
  • Simian Immune Deficiency Virus was thought to be inert in chimps. It was speculated they evolved past it long ago. But now its been discovered [natap.org] it slowly kills chimps much like AIDS does to humans. SIV may be a predecessor of the human virus.
  • Obligatory (stupid) comic strip reference http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=1592 [smbc-comics.com]

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