THE CHIMP CONNECTION ;
1) The chimps caught by Ivanov were from Cameroon as confirmed in his writings
2) This means they probably contained the SIV virus as about 35 % of chimps have SIV in Cameroon
3) The chimps were caught and used by Ivanov just before the period of the suspected transmission into humans around 1930 - Ivanov was doing his experiments in 1927
4)Under French Law that applied to french colonies such as Conakry in the 1920's and 1930's contraception and abortion were banned, thereby ensuring that any female prostitute paid by Ivanov to be inseminated with SIV infected chimp would pass the infection on and create a 'pool' of human beings for the HIV 1 infection to survive and be transmitted on
5) Ivanov had stated many times he wanted to inseminate women with chimp sperm and that was the primary focus of his research projects both in Africa and Russia
6) Ivanov was ORDERED by Stalin to create ape-human hybrids and could not refuse such an order - the funding he was provided was vast, more than required for experiments simply on chimps.
7) Ivanov applied for and was granted permission to inseminate African women with chimp sperm by the French colonial adminstration
8) That Ivanov paid thousands of dollars to both male and FEMALE AFRICAN volunteers in his experiments, so why pay women - for what services other than insemination
9) The payments made were vast, the equivalent of tens of thousands of pounds today, so these women were being paid a lot of money for their services
10) We know that in some reports Ivanov confirmed that he tried to inseminate African females and that they did not get pregnant - but we have to ask is 'was SIV transmitted and became HIV during these experiments'. The impregnation experiments may have failed, but they would have transmitted the SIV virus.
11) The French government gave him express permission to inseminate African women but outside the hospital where he was working - in other words, he had to keep it quiet and low key. Therefore we know that he asked to do so and was given permission to do so.
12) That the idea that Ivanov would go to Africa and not inseminate African women, which had been the primary focus of his research both before the trip and after it when he returned to Russia where he intended to inseminate Russian women, is an unlikely one - he had to do as Stalin ordered.
13) The chimps he caught and used in the insemination experiments were sick and almost all died after a short time - and this sickness was probably CHIMP SIV - and thereby provides evidence for the contention that the chimps were sick with SIV before they were used in the experiments and hence able to have passed the SIV infection on during the experiments
14) That the description of the deaths of the chimps in Russia in Ivanovs writings suggest classic Chimp SIV symptoms
15) That chimp SIV is spread via chimp semen and sexual fluids
16) Therefore that SIV in chimp semen inseminated into an human female could have passed into her body, as many viruses are known to be able to easily transfer between species
17) The SIV could have been absorbed through the membrane of the female vagina
18) That a prostitute infected with SIV that became HIV 1 and who then spread the infection into a wider pool of clients is far more likely as a carrier / transmitter of HIV 1 than the present 'Bushmeat / Cut Theory'.
19) That the HIV 1 virus if found only in rare individuals infected via a cut from bushmeat, would probaly not have transmitted out of that person or area - especially if they were hunters in the forest, married etc etc. The spread of HIV 1 is most common even today in prostitutes and was spread via prostitutes in Africa - therefore Occams Razor requires the prostitute idea as a the source / storage / transmitter of the HIV 1 virus to be the most likely scenario.
20) That the surival of the virus from 1930 to the present suggests that a pool of people had to be storing and spreading the virus generation after generation and this would have to be prostitutes.
The origin of HIV has been found in wild chimpanzees living in southern Cameroon, researchers report.
A virus called SIVcpz (Simian Immunodeficiency Virus from chimps) was thought to be the source, but had only been found in a few captive animals.
Now, an international team of scientists has identified a natural reservoir of SIVcpz in animals living in the wild.
The findings are to be published in Science magazine.
All discoveries which relate to the history and origins of HIV could be of value to the vital work being carried out by scientists in developing a HIV vaccine
Yusef Azad, National Aids Trust
It is thought that people hunting chimpanzees first contracted the virus - and that cases were first seen in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo - the nearest urban area - in 1930.
Scientists believe the rareness of cases - and the fact that symptoms of Aids differ significantly between individuals - explains why it was another 50 years before the virus was named.
This team of researchers, including experts from the universities of Nottingham, Montpellier and Alabama, have been working for a decade to identify the source of HIV.
While SIVcpz was only identified in captive animals, the possibility remained that yet another species could be the natural reservoir of both HIV and SIVcpz.
It had only been possible to detect SIVcpz using blood test - which meant that only captive animals could be studied.
This study, carried out alongside experts from the Project Prevention du Sida au Cameroun (PRESICA) in Cameroon, involved analysing chimpanzee faeces, collected from the forest floor in remote jungle areas.
The researchers went into the jungles of Cameroon
This was useful because University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers had been able to determine the genetic sequences of the chimpanzee viruses - which could then be searched for in the faecal samples.
Lab tests detected SIVcpz specific antibodies and genetic information linked to the virus in up to 35% of chimpanzees in some groups.
All of the data were then sent to the University of Nottingham for analysis, which revealed the extremely close genetic relationship between some of the samples and strains of HIV.
Chimpanzees in south-east Cameroon were found to have the viruses most similar to the form of HIV that has spread throughout the world.
The researchers say that, as well as solving the mystery about the origin of the virus, the findings open up avenues for future research.
But SIVcpz has not been found to cause any Aids-like illnesses in chimpanzees, so researchers are investigating why the animals do not suffer any symptoms, when humans - who are so genetically similar - do.
Paul Sharp, professor of genetics at the University of Nottingham said: "It is likely that the jump between chimps and humans occurred in south-east Cameroon - and that virus then spread across the world.
"When you consider that HIV probably originated more than 75 years ago, it is most unlikely that there are any viruses out there that will prove to be more closely related to the human virus."
He said the team were currently working to understand if the genetic differences between SIVcpz and HIV evolved as a response to the species jump.
Keith Alcorn of Aidsmap said: "The researchers have pinned down a very specific location where they believe the precursor of HIV came from.
"But there are vast areas of west Africa where other forms of SIVcpz lineages exist, and the possibility remains for human infection.
Yusef Azad, policy director of the National Aids Trust said: "This research is interesting as all discoveries which relate to the history and origins of HIV could be of value to the vital work being carried out by scientists in developing a HIV vaccine."
for National Geographic News
May 25, 2006
Chimpanzees living in dense jungles in Africa have been confirmed as the probable source of the HIV virus which caused the human AIDS pandemic.
Researchers have identified simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) in wild apes for the first time. The virus, which at some point jumped to humans as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), has been found in chimpanzees in Cameroon, west-central Africa. (Cameroon map and profile)
Scientists have long suspected that HIV had its in origins in wild chimp populations. But previously SIV had been found only in some captive chimps.
The discovery in wild chimps was made by an international research team, which detected SIV antibodies in chimpanzee feces gathered from forests.
The virus was found in chimpanzees in southeastern Cameroon, where SIV infection rates were as high as 35 percent in some chimp populations.
Further genetic analysis linked these chimps to the source of the main strain of HIV-1, the most prevalent form of HIV. The team's findings are to be published tomorrow in the journal Science.
The Cameroonian chimps showed a diversity of SIV strains, with some twice as similar to human HIV strains as any found in captive apes, says study team member Beatrice Hahn, a professor of medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
"Two clusters [of SIV strains] were very closely related to human strains," she added.
These human strains belong to the M group of HIV-1, the group which has spread among humans worldwide.
The SIV clusters were restricted to communities of the chimpanzee subspecies Pan troglodytes troglodytes.
Origins of AIDS
The team says the findings provide the clearest picture yet of the 70-year-old origins of the current human AIDS pandemic.
"We think it's likely that the cross-species transmission took place locally" in the Cameroon region, Hahn said.
Hunters in the region who caught and ate chimps were probably the first to contract HIV, she adds. (See a photo of a Cameroonian family preparing a meal of bush meat.)
"Based on what we know about the biology of these viruses, you need to be exposed to infectious blood or body fluids," she said. "You don't get it by petting a chimp."
From southeastern Cameroon the virus appears then to have spread south via the Sangha and Congo Rivers.
"Eventually the virus ended up in a major metropolitan area, which would either be Kinshasa [Democratic Republic of the Congo] or Brazzaville [Republic of the Congo]," Hahn added. "That's where we believe the AIDS pandemic really started."
Chimps in turn are thought to have picked up SIV by eating infected monkeys.
A study published in 2003 in Science suggested a chimp strain of SIV arose through repeated transmissions and recombination of similar viruses found in red-capped mangabeys and greater spot-nosed monkeys. (Read a story about this study.)
This previous research was led by Paul Sharp of the Institute of Genetics at the University of Nottingham in England.
"We now know there are more than 30 species of monkeys across Africa which have their own forms of SIVs," said Sharp, who was also involved with the new study.
Chimps, however, are the only apes known to be infected.
"The chimp virus is a mosaic of viruses that infect prey monkeys," the University of Alabama's Hahn said. "Chimps had to eat these monkeys first but they have certainly had their infection a lot longer than humans."
She says the diversity of new SIV strains detected in Cameroon chimps raises the possibility that the animals could pass on new types of HIV infection to humans.
This, says Hahn, could hinder the global fight against AIDS.
"Cross-species transmissions could have already occurred and may have gone unrecognized," she added.
Hahn says it's unlikely that further, recently acquired chimp infections have led to AIDS epidemics in humans. But such transmissions could undermine the effectiveness of AIDS vaccines currently under development.
"If we ever had a vaccine that worked and you then bring in a new virus that's 30 or 40 percent different, that's probably not a good thing," she said.
"It might be much more difficult to detect one of these other chimp viruses if it jumped into humans," the University of Nottingham's Sharp added.
On the other hand, further studies of wild chimp populations could help in finding new treatments for AIDS sufferers, Sharp says.
"As far as we know, the chimps don't get any type of AIDS-like disease," he said. "That's part of the reason for being very interested in the infection of chimps, because chimps and humans are very similar genetically."
The long answer is that there are currently two very different immunodeficiency viruses which infect humans and cause AIDS. The most common is HIV-1, which is believed to have come from chimpanzees. Three groups of HIV-1, the M, N and O goups probably represent three different chimpanzee to human transmission events. Any of these viruses is called SIV-CPZ if it is isolated from a chimpanzee, and HIV-1 if it is isolated from a human. The second, much less common worldwide, is HIV-2, which came from sooty mangabeys. HIV-2 also has several different groups which are likely to have been derived from seperate sooty mangabey to human transmissions.
For the first time, and in a surprise to scientists, chimps have been found infected with what is essentially AIDS, a new study says.
The monkey and ape equivalent of HIV—simian immunodeficiency virus, or SIV—has long been thought to be harmless in the animals, never developing into a lethal AIDS equivalent.
Wild, SIV-positive chimps in Africa, the researchers found, are 10 to 16 times more likely to die in a given year than uninfected chimps—giving conservationists one more worry in the struggle to save already at-risk ape and monkey species.
Past evidence had supported the view that SIV doesn't lead to a lethal condition in apes and monkeys, explained AIDS researcher Daniel Douek of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
But the study authors "have now conclusively challenged this notion," said Douek, who was not involved in the new research.
(Related: "HIV-Like Virus Found in Gorillas.")
SIV is considered the source of human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. A mutated form of SIV, HIV is thought to have jumped from chimps to humans, perhaps in the late 1800s.
Disease as Ape-Extinction Threat
The study began in 2004 "because of global worries about disease being a major conservation concern for apes," said study co-author Elizabeth Lonsdorf, a primatologist at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago.
At Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania—made famous by Jane Goodall—researchers collected observational data and, from chimps that had died, tissue samples.
Feces and urine tests pinpointed which living chimps were SIV positive. SIV is spread via bodily fluids, during sexual contact and probably during birth, Lonsdorf said. The virus may also spread through biting and fight wounds, she added—"which will be the topic of further study over the next several years."
At the outset of the study, there was little sense that anything was wrong with the SIV-positive chimps, said Lonsdorf, a former National Geographic Society emerging explorer, who has spent considerable time at Gombe. (The Society owns National Geographic News.)
Then the researchers began noticing the much higher death rate among the SIV-positive chimpanzees. And infected females, it turned out, were much less likely to give birth. When they did, their babies had a very low chance of survival.
Other symptoms of the AIDS-like syndrome remain unknown, though preliminary results suggest weight loss and lethargy may be among the side effects. "Again, this will be the focus of intensive study over the next several years, since we just discovered the death hazard," Lonsdorf said.
Searching for the culprit, veterinary pathologist Karen Terio, looked at tissue samples from an SIV-positive female chimpanzee that had died at Gombe.
"As I was looking through her tissues I was completely taken aback," said Terio, also a co-author of the study, published today in the journal Nature.
"I couldn't believe what I was seeing, as the tissue changes looked just like those of AIDS. I kept looking for another reason and couldn't find one. ... " recalled Terio, of the University of Illinois.
Study co-author Dominic Travis remains cautious.
"We don't really know how bad this is in Gombe, let alone if or how it happens elsewhere," said Travis, a veterinary epidemiologist at the Lincoln Park Zoo.
Hope for Fighting AIDS in Humans?
The researchers are optimistic that their potentially dispiriting study could hold blessings in disguise, in the form of increased funding for ape-health research—or potential medical advances for humans.
(Also see "Search for a Cure: AIDS Turns 20" from National Geographic magazine.)
"We can learn a lot about disease mechanisms by studying the same disease in different species," the University of Illinois's Terio said.
Study leader Beatrice Hahn, of the University of Alabama, added, "Chimps may be one [evolutionary] step ahead of us humans in managing the disease. And figuring out how they deal with their infection may ultimately help people infected with HIV."