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AIDS-like disease found in wild chimpanzees

An international consortium has found that wild chimpanzees naturally infected with Simian Immunodeficiency Viruses (SIV) – long thought to be harmless to the apes – can contract an AIDS-like syndrome and die as a result. The findings are published in the July 23 edition of the journal Nature.

Scientists have known that the AIDS virus, HIV-1, first entered the human population after transmission from chimpanzees. The precursor virus, SIV, has many different forms, most of which infect various African monkey species. While there are data for only a few of these species, all of the evidence so far has indicated that monkey SIVs are not pathogenic in their natural hosts.

"We all assumed that the same was true of SIV infection in chimpanzees, but that turns out not to be the case," said Dr. Beatrice Hahn, a professor of medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, who led the investigation. "But of course chimps are not monkeys. Chimpanzees and humans are very similar genetically, so perhaps we should not be surprised that these closely related viruses cause disease in both hosts."

via- EurekAlert
 
 

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