The existence of a new human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) derived from gorillas is reported in this week’s Nature Medicine.
Jean-Christophe Plantier of the University of Rouen in France, along with colleagues from the University of Manchester in the U.K. and three French hospitals (Hôpital Louis Mourier, Hôpital Bichat, and Hôpital Saint-Louis), identified the new form of HIV in a patient from the African country of Cameroon.
The new virus is closely related to the known gorilla simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV). This gorilla strand shows no evidence of recombination with other HIV strains or with chimpanzee SIV. The human prevalence of this new form of HIV remains to be determined.
"We have identified a new human immunodeficiency virus in a Cameroonian woman," the researchers write in their report. "It is closely related to gorilla simian immunodeficiency virus (SIVgor) and shows no evidence of recombination with other HIV-1 lineages. This new virus seems to be the prototype of a new HIV-1 lineage that is distinct from HIV-1 groups M, N and O. We propose to designate it HIV-1 group P."
These findings indicate that gorillas, in addition to chimpanzees, are likely sources of HIV. The discovery of this novel HIV lineage highlights the need to better monitor the emergence of new HIV variants, particularly in western central Africa from where existing HIV groups have originated.
Cite This Page: