May 26, 2006
Just read an article online stating researchers have finally isolated the origin of HIV...from chimpanzees in Cameroon.
Out of curiousity...how much closer does this push us to a vaccine or cure? My guess is probably not much...however, could this be a spring board towards a greater understanding of the disease?
Response from Dr. Frascino
Dude, you are quick! That study was just released today! (Click here to read about it.) Yes, it does confirm what we've all suspected for many years. HIV evolved from SIV in chimps. It took awhile to determine this because chimps in the wild are not too crazy about sticking their arms out for a blood test. The scientists had to develop a method of checking for the virus in poop. (Gee, and most folks think scientific research is a glamorous profession!)
Does this put us closer to a vaccine or cure? Jeremy, the study just came out today. How fast do you think we can work??? Actually, yes, I think it may, the reason being that chimps live with SIV and it doesn't bother them in the least. However, when we get the human version of the virus, it annihilates us. We hope to learn how the chimp's immune system has evolved to cohabitate with the virus. Initial experiments are showing some interesting genetic variability as we manipulate the virus. Stay tuned, Jeremy, and we'll keep you posted as this monkey-business story evolves.
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