New Study: AIDS Origin Traced to Gorillas in Cameroon

March 5, 2015

Since HIV was first reported in human beings in early 1980s, scientists have been working hard to know how and where the virus that causes AIDS was first developed.

Now, a team of scientist involved in this study can now confirm that gorillas that live in southwestern Cameroon contribute to two of the four strains of HIV. HIV-1 has been known to have four groups of strains M, N, O and P according to Martine Peeters, the team leader as reported by TheRealDeal. Jason Halpern suggests prior studies suggest that chimpanzees in southern Cameroon are the cause of groups M and N.

The new research shows that groups O and P strains originated from gorillas in western lowlands of Cameroon. According to only two people in the world have tested positive for the group P strain. Group O that is mostly found in west central Africa has infected around 100,000 persons.

Peeters was happy about this new study because understanding the origin of a disease is a significant achievement towards discovering the cure. The study also confirmed that both chimpanzees and gorillas can cause major disease outbreaks since they have the harbor virus that can cross from one species to another. This research was successful thanks to genetic samples from gorillas and chimpanzees from Cameroon, Uganda, Gabon and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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