New Findings Indicate HIV/AIDS Pandemic Began Earlier than Previously Thought
New research indicates that the most pervasive global strain of HIV began spreading among humans closer to the turn of the century, not during the 1930s, as previously reported.
Balintfy: New research indicates that the most pervasive global strain of HIV began spreading among humans closer to the turn of the century, not during the 1930s, as previously reported. The research, led by Dr. Michael Worobey, of the University of Arizona in Tucson, was co-sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Young: What Dr. Worobey was able to do is take samples that had been stored in a laboratory in Kinshasa and develop a technique to isolate DNA and RNA from it.
Balintfy: Dr. Janet Young, from NIAID explains that Dr. Worobey was able to compare the HIV samples.
Young: He was able to show first of all that they differed by twelve percent, showing that they were related, but that a considerable amount of evolution had taken place.
Balintfy: Roughly 40 years of evolution. Dr. Young comments that by knowing that HIV entered the human population earlier than previously thought, between 1884 and 1924, researchers will be better informed in their efforts to develop a vaccine. Dr. Rosemary McKaig, also with NIAID, concurs:
Dr. McKaig: By knowing the circumstances around that entry, we might be able to somehow evaluate better how to deal with it in the human population both through prevention and treatment, because it continues to evolve.
Balintfy: Dr. McKaig emphasizes that Dr. Worobey's HIV discovery is significant for both viral evolution, and human evolution.
McKaig: And as we attack our problems today, we need to, one, look at other viruses that might be entering into the population, that are quiescent right now; but we can also look at this virus and say, "there was a time in history when it wasn't here" and "what was it about humans that changed that made it explode into our population." And he has some great concepts that he's thinking through about those issues because they relate to our prevention techniques now and how we might be able to actually finally get this virus out of our population because that's really what we'd like to do, whether it's eradicate it, or treat it out, or where we no longer have effective transmissions.Balintfy: For more information on this study, Dr. Worobey's paper in Nature magazine, and HIV research, visit www.niaid.nih.gov. This is Joe Balintfy, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Joe Balintfy
Sound Bite: Dr. Rosemary McKaig, Dr. Janet Young, NIAID
Topic: HIV, AIDS, pandemic, virus, origin