Wild gorillas carriers of a SIV virus close to the AIDS virusNovember 14, 2006
In 2005, 40.3 million people in the world, including 25.8 million in Sub-Saharan Africa, were living with HIV. The question of the origin of HIV-1, responsible for the AIDS pandemic, has been stimulating the scientific community for many years.
Some months ago, the team of Martine Peeters, director of research at IRD, and Eric Delaporte, director of the mixed research unit UMR 145 jointly involving the IRD and the University of Montpellier 1, showed the chimpanzee subspecies living in the Congo Basin (2) to be the reservoir of HIV-1 virus group M, the source of the world pandemic and that of another, very rare variant, HIV-1 group N. However, the reservoir of the third HIV-1 group, group O which infects humans (3), remained unidentified up to now.
This team announces, in an article in the journal Nature, the discovery of a simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection in wild gorillas. Samples of faeces collected from different communities of gorillas found in the remotest areas of the Cameroon tropical forest were found to contain antibodies against this virus, called SIVgor. The genetic characteristics of the virus were present again in three gorillas living more than 400 km apart. Phylogenetic analysis of SIVgor showed it to be related to HIV-1 group O found in humans, essentially in Cameroon and in neighbouring countries.
This discovery of an HIV-1 related virus in wild gorillas does not, however, call into question the fact that chimpanzees are the primary reservoir of SIV/HIV viruses that crop up again in gorillas and in humans. As Martine Peeters of the IRD says, "the viruses of groups M and N are, very clearly, the consequence of inter-species transmission from chimpanzee to humans, whereas the origin of HIV-1 group O is less apparent. It cannot be excluded that chimpanzees infected by HIV-1 group O might have contaminated humans and the gorilla independently, or that the gorilla, having been contaminated by the chimpanzee, might have contaminated humans".
This work thus opens up a Pandora's box on the questions and speculations concerning the ability of these viruses to cross over from one species to another. The main challenges facing these teams for future work will be determination of the prevalence, the geographical distribution and biology of SIV infections in these great apes, not forgetting the question of how the gorillas were contaminated. This last point remains a mystery,considered as rare.
1. UMR 145: Fran Van Heuverswijn, Cecile Neel, Florian Liegeois, Christelle Butel, Eric Delaporte and Martine Peeters jointly involving the IRD and the University of Montpellier1 University of Alabama (Beatrice Hahn and her colleagues), University of Nottingham (Paul Sharp and his colleagues) PRESICA Project of Cameroon headed by Eitel Mpoudi-Ngole.
2. Keele BF, Van Heuverswyn F, Li Y, Bailes E, Takehisa J, Santiago ML, Bibollet-Ruche F, Chen Y, Wain LV, Liegeois F, Loul S, Mpoudi Ngole E, Bienvenue Y, Delaporte E, Brookfield JF, Sharp PM, Shaw GM, Peeters M, Hahn BH. Chimpanzee Reservoirs of Pandemic and Nonpandemic HIV-1. Science. 2006 , 313 : 523-6
3. Scientists have known for a long time that the Aids virus shows a very strong genetic variability. Two main types of the virus exist: HIV 1 and HIV 2. HIV 1, the most widely spread in the world, embraces three groups (M, N,O) which manifest different genetic characteristics. Within group M, the most frequent, still 9 further subtypes can be distinguished (A, B, C, D, F, G, H, J, K), genetically close yet distinct.
Institut de Recherche Pour le Développement
Related Hiv-1 Current Events and Hiv-1 News Articles
Effects on HIV and Ebola
Scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum München discover that extracts of the medicinal plant Cistus incanus (Ci) prevent human immunodeficiency viruses from infecting cells.
Adenosine deaminase may help the immune system fight HIV on its own
New research findings published in the February 2016 issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, suggest that a new therapeutic strategy for HIV may already be available by repurposing an existing prescription drug.
Neural networks adapt to the presence of a toxic HIV protein
Nearly half of HIV infected patients suffer from impaired neurocognitive function. The HIV protein transactivator of transcription (Tat) is an important contributor to HIV neuropathogenesis because it is a potent neurotoxin that continues to be produced despite treatment with antiretroviral therapy.
Ongoing HIV replication replenishes viral reservoirs during therapy
In HIV-infected patients undergoing antiretroviral therapy (ART), ongoing HIV replication in lymphoid tissues such as the lymph nodes helps maintain stores, or reservoirs, of the virus, a new study funded by the National Institutes of Health suggests.
Scientists overcome missing data to demonstrate ART effectiveness in HIV-infected infants
Recent clinical trials conducted in South Africa have established that babies born with HIV should be treated with antiretroviral therapy (ART) as early as possible, since earlier treatment significantly decreases their mortality and morbidity rates.
Have sex workers revealed a connection between semen exposure and HIV resistance?
More than half of all people infected by the HIV-1 virus worldwide are women. Commercial sex workers, who are at increased risk of contracting HIV because of repeated exposure to the virus, have long been studied to test preventive behavioral and vaccine approaches aimed at decreasing the number of infections.
Population Council's MZC outperforms TFV 1 percent gel in microbicide candidate preclinical study
New data from a preclinical safety and efficacy study of the candidate microbicide gel MZC, which targets HIV, herpes simplex virus (HSV-2) and human papillomavirus (HPV), shows that the gel performs as well as, or in many cases, better than, tenofovir (TFV) 1% gel, a leading microbicide candidate.
Progress toward preventing HIV highlighted in special issue of AIDS research and human retroviruses
New and emerging biomedical pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) approaches to prevent HIV infection in targeted high-risk populations offer the most effective near-term strategy to reduce HIV transmission.
Breastfeeding babies protected against HIV infection from their HIV-positive mothers with 12 months of liquid antiretroviral drug treatment
A study from four countries in Africa, published in The Lancet, shows that providing babies with up to 12 months of liquid formula HIV drugs, while breastfeeding with their HIV-positive mothers, is highly effective at protecting them from infection, including in the 6-12 month period after birth which has not been analysed in previous research.
Persistent clusters sustain Netherlands HIV epidemic among men who have sex with men
The resurgent HIV epidemic among men who have sex with men (MSM) in the Netherlands is driven by several large, persistent, self-sustaining, and, in many cases, growing sub-epidemics shifting towards new generations of MSM, according to new research published this week in PLOS Medicine by Daniela Bezemer from HIV Monitoring Foundation, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and Anne Cori from Imperial College London, UK, and colleagues.
More Hiv-1 Current Events and Hiv-1 News Articles