Two HIV virus strains come from gorillas in southwestern Cameroon

Two HIV virus strains come from gorillas in southwestern Cameroon

According to an international team of scientists, two strains of the virus out of four that can lead to AIDS come from gorillas in southwestern Cameroon. It has been reported by scientists in the studies published on Monday in the US. With this new information, scientists have come to know the origins of all strains of the HIV virus, which lead to the deadly disease-AIDS.

There are at least four strains of HIV (HIV-1) i.e. Groups M, N, O and P and each of the strains has its own origin. As per scientists, Groups M and N came from chimpanzees in Cameroon, whereas the origin of O and P strains had been unclear.

The study, led by Martine Peeters, a virologist at France's Research and Development Institute (IRD) and the University of Montpellier, has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Group M has affected majority of people and almost 40 million people around the world have been infected by the disease due to this group. Only two people have been known to be affected by Group P, whereas Group O affected about 100,000 people in central and western Africa.

“From this study and others that our team has conducted in the past it has become clear that both chimpanzees and gorillas harbor viruses that are capable of crossing the species barrier to humans and have the potential to cause major disease outbreaks", Peeters said.

He added that understanding the origins of the emerging disease is important in order to know about future human infection risks.

The team of scientists involved in the study is from the University of Montpellier, the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Edinburgh, and other institutions.

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