Thursday, August 22, 2002

RESEARCHERS BELIEVE CHIMPANZEES OVERCAME HIV-LIKE EPIDEMIC

Chimps May Have Survived HIV Epidemic
Thu Aug 22, 7:48 AM ET

LONDON (Reuters) - Chimpanzees may have survived a catastrophic virus epidemic similar to HIV some two million years ago, which could explain why they are now immune to AIDS.

Scientists from the Biomedical Primate Research Center in the Netherlands and the University of California, San Diego, in the United States found that chimpanzees have only half as many variations of certain anti-virus immune system genes as humans.

Chimps normally have about five times as much variation in their genes as people, so the fewer variations in the MHC I virus-fighting genes suggests chimps may have been attacked by a virus that killed all but those with the right genes....