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New Strain of HIV Jumps from Gorillas to Humans

A recently published paper in Nature Medicine reports that a new strain of HIV has jumped from gorillas to humans. So far, only one person, a 62-year-old French woman from Cameroon, has been found to be infected with the virus, which closely resembles strains of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) recently discovered in western gorillas in the wild.

Until 2004, the infected woman lived in a suburb of Cameroon's capital city Yaoundé, where she didn't come into contact with apes or eat their meat – SIV's primary route to humans. This means that she probably acquired the infection from another human, likely through sexual contact.

The woman hasn't yet shown any sign of a compromised immune system – the hallmark of AIDS – but tests on laboratory-cultured human cells suggest that the virus can replicate in the same white blood cells as other strains of HIV.
 
 

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