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What is the most probable origin of HIV?

Launcher Harlene Flores Philippines
Status Closed Mediated Closed 3 years, 5 months ago
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Virology Current Events


I am working on a research paper on AIDS and I want to know how HIV became one of the most concerning virus to affect humans. Why can't we create a vaccine for HIV? With the emergence of Timothy Ray Brown who is now known as the "first man in world history to have HIV virus completely eliminated from his body," do you think we are close to finding a cure for HIV infection?

Answers (3)

  • Icarus
    Aug 21, 2011

    As karenb has stated above, the HIV virus is generally accepted to have originated from the Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) as it resembles the two strains of HIV (HIV-1 and HIV-2) that affect humans today. What is up for contention is how a disease that affected only wild apes jumped to humans.

    There have been many cases of diseases jumping from animals to human beings (bubonic plague, mad cow disease and bird flu to name a few) and such is believed to have happened on HIV's case as well. The most plausible explanation of how the disease was transferred to humans is what is known as the Natural Transfer Theory (Also known as the Hunter or Bushmeat Theory) which is the practice of African bushmen of hunting primates for consumption. Scientists theorize that SIV transferred to human hosts as early as the 19th century. The change of SIV to HIV is widely attributed to natural selection, as SIV adapted to its new human carriers to survive and propagate. Presently, the earliest known case of HIV infection is from 1959 from someone living in the Democratic Republic of Congo (known as the Belgian Congo during the time and Zaire until 1997)

    The search for a cure for HIV has been a long and arduous journey. Before the case of Timothy Ray Brown, the nearest we ever got was a “cocktail” of antiretroviral drugs that was not only expensive but produced a large number of side effects. With the advance of modern medicine (in particular the use of stem cells) Mr. Brown was given a bone marrow stem cell transplant from an individual that had an immunity to HIV (it is theorized that 1% of the Caucasian population is immune to HIV which is an inherited trait from the survivors of the Great Plague of 1665 to 1666). If further advances to stem cell research is made, a cure to HIV and AIDS may not be long in coming.


  • shantaine.vanw
    Aug 07, 2011

    well im sure with recent breakthroughs in technology and research,there might be a cure one day.i remember reading an article in a magazine a long time ago about crocodile blood shedding some light in this matter.heres a link

    additionally, some people are more supceptible to the virus which could mean that there might have something to do with the location and genetics of these people.

    you might also want to look into the antiretroviral therapy,success rates.etc

  • karenb
    Aug 10, 2011

    HIV is widely accepted to have originated from a virus found in chimpanzees called SIV or Simian Immunodeficiency Virus. There are several theories as to how this virus has crossed to humans and you can read it further here:

    There are also several reasons why it is very challenging to produce an HIV vaccine. The major reason is that HIV has the ability to mutate and thereby creating different variations that will not be recognized by our immune system.

    The case of Timothy Ray Brown is truly a major development in the quest for finding a cure and his case supports the research suggesting that people who inherit the HIV immunity gene called CCR5 from both their mother and father present a strong case against HIV infection. According to researchers, people of Northern European descent have about 10 to 15% chance of inheriting this gene from one parent, and about 1% chance of inheriting the gene from both parents.

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