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what research papers?
Aug 15, 2005

Hi Dr. Conway

Thank you for responding to my post about my mysterious viral infection that mimicks HIV. You mentioned that a new medical paper discusses new retroviruses in Africa that may or may not cause disease. Could you direct me to where I might find this paper? Thank you.

Response from Dr. Conway

Here are 2 key references here. I have included the abstracts, available freely in the public domain.

Retrovirology. 2005 May 9;2(1):30. Calattini S, Chevalier SA, Duprez R, Bassot S, Froment A, Mahieux R, Gessain A. Human T-cell Leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) and type 2 (HTLV-2) are pathogenic retroviruses that infect humans and cause severe hematological and neurological diseases. Both viruses have simian counterparts (STLV-1 and STLV-2). STLV-3 belongs to a third group of lymphotropic viruses which infect numerous African monkeys species. Among 240 Cameroonian plasma tested for the presence of HTLV-1 and/or HTLV-2 antibodies, 48 scored positive by immunofluorescence. Among those, 27 had indeterminate western-blot pattern. PCR amplification of pol and tax regions, using HTLV-1, -2 and STLV-3 highly conserved primers, demonstrated the presence of a new human retrovirus in one DNA sample. tax (180 bp) and pol (318 bp) phylogenetic analyses demonstrated the strong relationships between the novel human strain (Pyl43) and STLV-3 isolates from Cameroon. The virus, that we tentatively named HTLV-3, originated from a 62 years old Bakola Pygmy living in a remote settlement in the rain forest of Southern Cameroon. The plasma was reactive on MT2 cells but was negative on C19 cells. The HTLV 2.4 western-blot exhibited a strong reactivity to p19 and a faint one to MTA-1. On the INNO-LIA strip, it reacted faintly with the generic p19 (I/II), but strongly to the generic gp46 (I/II) and to the specific HTLV-2 gp46. The molecular relationships between Pyl43 and STLV-3 are thus not paralleled by the serological results, as most of the STLV-3 infected monkeys have an "HTLV-2 like" WB pattern. In the context of the multiple interspecies transmissions which occurred in the past, and led to the present-day distribution of the PTLV-1, it is thus very tempting to speculate that this newly discovered human retrovirus HTLV-3 might be widespread, at least in the African continent.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 May 31;102(22):7994-9. Wolfe ND, Heneine W, Carr JK, Garcia AD, Shanmugam V, Tamoufe U, Torimiro JN, Prosser AT, Lebreton M, Mpoudi-Ngole E, McCutchan FE, Birx DL, Folks TM, Burke DS, Switzer WM. The human T-lymphotropic viruses (HTLVs) types 1 and 2 originated independently and are related to distinct lineages of simian T-lymphotropic viruses (STLV-1 and STLV-2, respectively). These facts, along with the finding that HTLV-1 diversity appears to have resulted from multiple cross-species transmissions of STLV-1, suggest that contact between humans and infected nonhuman primates (NHPs) may result in HTLV emergence. We investigated the diversity of HTLV among central Africans reporting contact with NHP blood and body fluids through hunting, butchering, and keeping primate pets. We show that this population is infected with a wide variety of HTLVs, including two previously unknown retroviruses: HTLV-4 is a member of a phylogenetic lineage that is distinct from all known HTLVs and STLVs; HTLV-3 falls within the phylogenetic diversity of STLV-3, a group not previously seen in humans. We also document human infection with multiple STLV-1-like viruses. These results demonstrate greater HTLV diversity than previously recognized and suggest that NHP exposure contributes to HTLV emergence. Our discovery of unique and divergent HTLVs has implications for HTLV diagnosis, blood screening, and potential disease development in infected persons. The findings also indicate that cross-species transmission is not the rate-limiting step in pandemic retrovirus emergence and suggest that it may be possible to predict and prevent disease emergence by surveillance of populations exposed to animal reservoirs and interventions to decrease risk factors, such as primate hunting.



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