SIV, the simian form of HIV, causes illness in chimpanzees similar to human AIDS, despite the longstanding belief that such viruses had no effect on non-humans primates, according to a new study published this week in Nature.
Image: linkurl:Flickr/belgianchocolate;
"It's definitely unexpected," said viral immunologist linkurl:Don Sodora; of the Seattle Biomedical Research Institute, who was not involved in the research. "Prior to this it was thought that when African apes and monkeys were infected with SIV, there was no clinical disease." For nearly a decade, researchers have closely observed three free-living chimpanzee communities at the Gombe National Park in Tanzania -- home to the legendary work of primatologist Jane Goodall. More than 40 different SIVs naturally occur in dozens of African primate species, but they were universally believed to be virtually harmless. Linking viral infections in wild primates to slow-acting diseases such as AIDS is difficult, and captive, naturally...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!