Primates Shouldn't Eat Other Primates (Origins of HIV) - U2 Feedback

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Old 06-14-2003, 06:03 PM   #1
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Primates Shouldn't Eat Other Primates (Origins of HIV)

We've known for awhile that the origins of what we now know as the HIV virus are traced by to monkeys in Africa. A study at the University of Alabama in Birmingham and a paper from the University of Nottingham in Great Britain have uncovered some of the details of the bizarre food chain that led the virus from smaller monkeys who were eaten by Chimapnzees who were later butchered for human consumption.

Obviously, a multitude of diseases can be contracted via the consumption or ill preparation of any meat or plant for food, but I have always been bothered by the fact that larger apes enjoy eating the cute little monkeys that always seem so happy.

I'm not trying to be insensitive to any of you who may enjoy a good chimp steak, or to chimps who like to snack on little tree monkeys, but I think I'll continue to seek my meat eating needs from cows, pigs, deer, birds and crustaceans. Mybe there is some good sense in the current laws banning the hunting and consumption of chimpanzees.

Study links HIV to eaten monkeys


06/13/03

DAVE PARKS
News staff writer


A team of international researchers has found a new link in the primate food chain believed to be the source of the HIV epidemic in humans, according to a study published Thursday.

It now appears that chimpanzees in Africa developed a hybrid virus similar to HIV by eating two types of infected monkeys, according to the study in the journal Science. Then, humans developed HIV when they were exposed to the hybrid virus while butchering chimpanzees for food.

"Chimpanzees acquired the infection the same way we humans did, by hunting and eating smaller primates," said Dr. Beatrice H. Hahn, a member of the research team and professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

The new link is the latest discovery arising from a seminal study by Hahn and her husband, Dr. George Shaw, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator working at UAB. Five years ago they revealed evidence that human immunodeficiency virus, specifically HIV-1, came from transmission of simian immunodeficiency virus, or SIV, from chimpanzees to humans, perhaps through people eating so-called bush meat from chimps.

"It's an evolving story," Hahn said.

The new research shows a plausible source of infection for chimpanzees, Hahn said.

The information is important because it adds another level of evidence to the theory about the origin of AIDS, Hahn said. It also indicates that there may be much to learn about the AIDS epidemic from chimpanzees.

"It changes our thinking about chimpanzees as a model for HIV-1," she said.

Hahn said researchers believe chimpanzees are much further along than humans in adapting to an immunodeficiency virus. Chimps infected with SIV don't appear to be sick, she said. Moreover, the rate of infection in chimp communities remains relatively low.

The study of these phenomena could help humans in the fight against HIV, she said. "The more we look, the more we find similarities between humans and chimps."

In the latest study, researchers discovered the source of infection by genetically comparing different types of SIV found in monkeys and chimpanzees in Africa.

They found that SIV carried by chimpanzees was similar to one type of SIV carried by the red-capped mangabey and another type carried by the greater spot-nosed monkey.

It appears that thousands of years ago, chimps ate both types of monkeys, and the two viruses combined, Hahn said. In more recent history, people were exposed to the hybrid SIV, which mutated into HIV.

Male chimpanzees still hunt and eat the two species of monkeys found in West Central Africa, Hahn said. In turn, humans still hunt and eat chimpanzees, although it is illegal. It is likely that humans were infected with the virus while butchering chimpanzees and being exposed to their blood, she said.

Hahn said viruses routinely jump from animals to humans. Recent examples include the SARS virus, which is believed to originate with the exotic civet, eaten in China, and the monkeypox virus, which is being spread by prairie dogs kept as pets.

Hahn works with an international team of prominent scientists to collect and analyze waste samples from chimpanzees in Tanzania, Uganda and the Ivory Coast. The principal author of the new research paper was Elizabeth Bailes at the University of Nottingham in Great Britain.
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Old 06-14-2003, 06:30 PM   #2
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UAB doing great studies there. This is all so facinating, and scary.
Hope there are some break throughs soon, for all of humanity.
Thanks U2Bama for the enlightenment. Roll Tide!!!
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Old 06-16-2003, 08:58 PM   #3
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UAB doing great studies there.
For a state with such a bad reputation for public education, they always impress.

~U2Alabama
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Old 06-16-2003, 10:57 PM   #4
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the evolution of HIV seems similar to that of mad cow disease, where herbivorous cows were fed animal parts.

it's quite interesting that people eat chimpanzees. does anyone know if this behavior happens in other areas where chimps and humans live?
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Old 06-16-2003, 10:59 PM   #5
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yeah..prions are usually passed in this manner. Iv'e never heard of a virus passing like this but it sure is interesting



one more reason to become a vegetarian
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Old 06-17-2003, 04:34 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ramu
the evolution of HIV seems similar to that of mad cow disease, where herbivorous cows were fed animal parts.

it's quite interesting that people eat chimpanzees. does anyone know if this behavior happens in other areas where chimps and humans live?
it happens in most areas where humans and chimps live together... chimps are fairly large animals and there's a lot of poor people in Africa for whom killing and eating a chimp, or other large primate, is easier (cheaper) than buying food.
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