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Study Finds Gorilla Origins In Half of Human Aids Virus Lineages
On Monday, scientists revealed new details which give more light to the origins of AIDS, stating that half the lineages of the main type of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV -1), originated in gorillas which are in Cameroon before people got infected with it probably by consuming bush meat.
HIV-1 is made up of four groups, each of the groups come from a different cross-species transmission of a simian version of the HIV-1 virus which is transmitted from apes to humans.
Chimpanzees in southern parts of Cameroon have been identified by researchers in previous studies as the main source of HIV-1 group M, which triggered the AIDS pandemic that saw more than 40 million deaths reported worldwide as result of it.
Till to date scientist have not been able to identified the source of the other two groups, that is O and P. The research, which saw its findings being published in the journal Proceedings of The National Academy of Science, showed that these two genes came from gorillas who originated from the southern part of Cameroon.
"Thus, both chimpanzees and gorillas harbor viruses that are capable of crossing the species barrier to humans and causing major disease outbreaks," said virologist Martine Peeters, a researcher from the Institute for Research and Development and University of Montpellier in France.
Fecal samples which were taken from different gorillas in western African countries, including western, eastern and mountain gorillas in Cameroon were examined by the researchers for any evidence of the gorilla version of the HIV virus.
Genetic analysis that were carried out implicated gorillas which from the western lowland as the source of the remaining two groups, that is group O and P.