Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

HIV-Like Virus Detected In Wild Chimpanzee

Date:
January 18, 2002
Source:
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Summary:
An international team of researchers has identified a wild chimpanzee infected with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIVcpz). The identification of the infected animal strengthens the scientific case that wild chimpanzees are the reservoir of SIVcpz, which researchers believe is a relative of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

January 18, 2002 -- An international team of researchers has identified a wild chimpanzee infected with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIVcpz). The identification of the infected animal strengthens the scientific case that wild chimpanzees are the reservoir of SIVcpz, which researchers believe is a relative of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

The research team, which includes Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator George M. Shaw and senior author Beatrice H. Hahn, reported the discovery in the January 18, 2002, issue of the journal Science. Shaw and Hahn are both at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

In 1999, Hahn, Shaw and their colleagues first reported evidence that human HIV-1 most likely arose because of transmission of SIVcpz from the chimpanzee, Pan troglodytes troglodytes, to humans. Their conclusion was based on evidence indicating that six captive chimpanzees were infected with SIVcpz.

“Since thousands of captive chimpanzees throughout the world had been screened, and only those six had been found to be positive for SIVcpz, people questioned how the chimpanzee could be the reservoir if all these other animals were negative,” said Shaw. “The reason we deduced that the chimpanzee was the source was that others considered the animals as all being equivalent. But there are four different subspecies, and we provided evidence that it was Pan troglodytes troglodytes native to west central Africa that was the original source of the disease. However, until now, there had been no evidence for a natural reservoir of SIVcpz in the wild.”

In the latest studies, Hahn, Shaw and their colleagues analyzed urine and fecal samples from 58 animals. The animals included those of the subspecies Pan troglodytes verus from the Tai Forest in the Cτte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) in West Africa, and those of the subspecies Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii in the east African Kibale National Park in Uganda, and Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania. The development of a highly sensitive immunological assay to test urine and fecal samples for antibodies to the virus was critical to the study’s success. This noninvasive test, developed by first author Mario L. Santiago, allowed the scientists to avoid having to capture the endangered animals to take blood samples.

Of the tested animals only one -- a sexually active Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii male from the Gombe National Park -- was found to harbor SIVcpz. In order to protect the animal, the scientists are declining to reveal its identity.

Detailed analysis of the SIVcpz strain found in the Gombe chimpanzee revealed that it was different from any previously known SIVcpz or HIV-1 strains. The closest relative was a virus found in a captive Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii animal. According to the scientists, the lack of resemblance other strains of the virus found in the wild animal rules out east African chimpanzees as the natural source of human HIV.

“When we did our earlier work, we reasoned that since the virus from schweinfurthii was the most divergent from HIV, it must be that the human AIDS virus came from the troglodytes subspecies,” said Shaw. “And sure enough, when we studied the virus from troglodytes animals, it did resemble HIV-1.”

According to Shaw, the discovery of the virus in only one animal is not surprising, given the habitat destruction and decimation of chimpanzee populations throughout Africa. Hahn, Shaw and their colleagues are continuing to gather and analyze samples, especially from Gombe, to see if they can detect the virus in additional animals. These studies, he said, could offer new insights into SIV that will apply to HIV.

“To find this virus for the first time in the wild opens a window of opportunity to begin to study the natural transmissibility of these types of viruses in their natural host,” he said. “We also believe it may be important ultimately to understand the implications of the cross-species transmission that brought about the HIV pandemic,” he said. “Is there another vector besides transmission via blood that we haven’t discovered? We don’t think so, but we don’t know for sure.”

Primatologist Jane Goodall, a co-author of the Science paper, and her colleagues, has studied the Gombe animals extensively. “The infected animal was born in Gombe, and they have studied it for twenty years,” he said. “They know all its sexual mates and its history of sexual activity. So, we can analyze samples from those mates and their offspring and begin to understand how this virus perpetuates itself in the wild. From such studies could come clues to why the disease is benign in chimpanzees but virulent in humans,” he said. “For whatever reason, SIVcpz has adapted over tens of thousands of years to the chimpanzee, so that it is less pathogenic and therefore preserves itself in its host.”

“Importantly, we can also explore how SIVcpz in troglodytes animals differs from that in schweinfurthii animals,” he said. Detailed comparative molecular analysis of the infectious mechanisms and pathogenicity of the different strains of SIVcpz and HIV could yield insights that will aid development of AIDS vaccines and antiviral drugs,” said Shaw.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Howard Hughes Medical Institute. "HIV-Like Virus Detected In Wild Chimpanzee." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 January 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/01/020118075121.htm>.
Howard Hughes Medical Institute. (2002, January 18). HIV-Like Virus Detected In Wild Chimpanzee. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/01/020118075121.htm
Howard Hughes Medical Institute. "HIV-Like Virus Detected In Wild Chimpanzee." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/01/020118075121.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) — Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) — Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) — At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 29, 2014) — Pfizer, the world's largest drug maker, cut full-year revenue forecasts because generics could cut into sales of its anti-arthritis drug, Celebrex. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins