Chimpanzees and HIV; what does it teach us regarding the HIV-pandemic in humans?

19 June 2013

BPRC - 1. Chimpanzees and HIV; what does it teach us regarding the HIV-pandemic in humans?

Most probably in the distant past a precursor of the HIV virus has caused high mortality among chimpanzees. Only chimpanzees with an immune system that could control the virus survived. The current chimpanzee population is descended from these ‘survivors’. Their immune system is specialized to efficiently control this type of viruses. This is in contrast to the situation in humans, where an infection with HIV almost always will cause AIDS.

The study of the immune system of the chimpanzee population, partly evolved as a consequence of infections related to HIV viruses, can teach us a lot about how we can counteract the current HIV pandemic in humans. BPRC researchers have described their findings on this matter in the journal Retrovirology in an article that is “highly accessed”.