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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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  • 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.

  • Re:HIV Positive (Score:0, Informative)

    by Lilo-x (93462) on Monday August 03, 2009 @08:16AM (#28925415) Homepage

    I know this was meant to be a joke, but having HIV does not mean you should not protect yourself against HIV exposure, it is possible to contract a different strain which can cause complications, I also believe there has been research into HIV being advanced when coming into contact with someone who has the same but further advanced strain.

  • 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 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.

  • Re:One Brave Dude... (Score:3, Informative)

    by MBGMorden (803437) on Monday August 03, 2009 @09:53AM (#28926573)

    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).

  • Re:How? (Score:3, Informative)

    by squoozer (730327) on Monday August 03, 2009 @10:27AM (#28927059)

    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]

  • Re:How? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Joren (312641) on Monday August 03, 2009 @10:30AM (#28927101) Homepage

    ...there would HAVE to have been a monkey/human hybrid born at some point

    I know there's a GWB joke in there, I just know it... too bad he wasn't the one whose birth certificate is missing, that would be a zinger now!

    Whose birth certificate is missing? It [factcheck.org] isn't [snopes.com] Obama's [usatoday.com].

  • Re:How? (Score:1, Informative)

    by operagost (62405) on Monday August 03, 2009 @10:35AM (#28927181) Homepage Journal
    W earned degrees from Harvard and Yale. If that's a chimp education, well then sign me up, Bonzo! BTW, Obama has a similar education: BA from Columbia, law degree from Harvard.
  • 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.)
  • by Moraelin (679338) on Monday August 03, 2009 @12:06PM (#28928625) Journal

    Why is this modded "+4, Funny" instead of "-1, Untactfully Racist" ?

    Really? Racist? Wasn't that supposed to be about race instead of about a <insert holy book>-thumping fundamentalist sect?

    There is nothing racial about the burqa. There isn't even anything muslim about them. They're the product of one single reactionary sect pining for the good ol' 7'th century days.

    And frankly, I see no reason to be tactful about a group which routinely violates human rights and treats their women like slaves.

    Briefly: sorry, I never bought into the moral relativism idea. I'll be sensitive about their culture when it stops being an excuse for evil.

  • Re:How? (Score:3, Informative)

    by sleepy_sanchez (1301981) on Monday August 03, 2009 @12:44PM (#28929323)
    Stalin thought to produce super-soldiers by producing these primate hybrids. In fact, Africans were involved in the experiment, because they were thought to be genetically more "compatible"(trailing behind the evolutionary timeline) . This is the best google link I could find: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/stalins-space-monkeys-808978.html [independent.co.uk]

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