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Scientists Just Discovered Place Of Origin Of HIV


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‘You are HIV positive’ – is the last thing that anyone would ever want to hear. This deadly disease has taken the lives of many innocent people, and continues to haunt more humans.

Still incurable, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) has been in the spotlight since the early 1920s. Many claim that it all began in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, better known as Belgian colony of Leopoldville. The place attracted many young men who aimed at making fortunes. This attraction soon became a resource of spreading HIV-1 group M virus, as with people came along railroads and sex workers.

Today, 90% of the infections globally are caused by HIV-1 group M type whereas the rest of the 10% are caused by HIV-1 group O which is originated in West Africa. This pattern suggests that the reason for the spread is not actually the function of the disease itself but the favorable factors that promote it. Nuno Faria at the University of Oxford in UK rightly sums up this suggestion by commenting “Ecological rather than evolutionary factors drove its rapid spread.”

Determined to find its origin, Faria and his colleagues built a family tree of HIV by observing a host of HIV genomes that were collected from approximately 800 HIV infected people from Central Africa. This study led them to conclude that HIV genomes share a common ancestor that lived not too long ago; around 100 years. Their hard work proved fruitful when they successfully established that HIV was originated in no other city than Kinshasa.

However, this is just the first step. Now that we know where the disease originated from, we can hopefully work our way up and find out ways that will deter the spread of this infection. Fingers crossed!

Also Read: For The Very First Time, A US College Had More Female Engineers Than Men.

Tania Imran

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1 Comment to Scientists Just Discovered Place Of Origin Of HIV

  1. Syed Musawir Abbas Rizvi

    I believe that HIV is, without a doubt deadly, but it did a lot more damage because of lack of awareness. That’s why according to 2007 WHO statistics, 95% of HIV cases were found in developing countries especially sub-Saharan Africa. In Asia, there were 7 million cases.

    Developed countries, in the mean time, developed preventions like drugged cocktails, therapies like antiretroviral therapy and sexual heath education schools. R & D is still under development although only US-NIH looks interested in it. People are getting themselves treated for HIV like diabetes or high blood pressure.

    Here, as you mentioned, if anyone tests positive for HIV, he is treated as dead. I believe that we need to tell people about the options they have, to live a healthy life even with HIV. At this time, when HIV is still incurable but preventable and treatable, we need to tell people about preventions. Social awareness is more important at this time to save lives.

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