Gorilla HIV Leaps To Humans

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A French woman from Cameroon has been identified as being the first human to become infected with a new strain of the HIV virus - one that originated in gorillas. But it's still not clear how it happened.

Scientists studying the case of the unnamed 62-year-old from Cameroon say that they don't believe that she came into contact with apes, nor ate their meat, and suspect that she became infected through sexual contact with another human carrying the virus. Bioinformaticist David Robertson, who's been following the case, believes that she is only one of many humans carrying the strain:

It would be surprising if there aren't some more [human cases of this strain.] We don't think this is a direct gorilla-to-human transmission... Until we do more sampling we're also guessing a little bit.


The woman has not shown any signs of a compromised immune system, according to scientists, although they think that the strain works in a similar way to the human strains of the virus; thankfully, they believe that this will make the virus susceptible to existing retroviral drugs used to treat HIV.

Gorilla HIV makes leap to humans [New Scientist]