Genetic diversity suggests congo as source of hiv epidemic
An extremely high level of genetic diversity among HIV isolates taken in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) suggests that the HIV-1 pandemic originated in central Africa, say researchers from France, Congo and the United Kingdom in the November 2000 issue of the Journal of Virology. The most common form of the HIV virus, HIV-1 group M, is known to have at least 9 genetic variations, known as subtypes. In the study, the researchers tested 247 HIV isolates in the DRC (formerly known as Zaire) to determine the genetic diversity of HIV-1 infections in that part of Africa. While they found one specific subtype was dominant in the area, they found smaller populations infected with the other 8 subtypes. In contrast, only 3 of the subgroups are found at any significant level in surrounding African nations.
"Overall, the high number of HIV-1 subtypes cocirculating, the high intrasubtype diversity and the high numbers of possible recombinant viruses as well as different unclassified strains are all in agreement with an old and mature epidemic in the DRC, suggesting that this region is the epicenter of HIV-1 group M," say the researchers.
(N. Vidal, M. Peeters, C. Mulanga-Kabeya, N. Nzilambi, D. Robertson, W. Ilunga, H. Sema, K. Tshimanga, B. Bongo and E. Delaporte. 2000. Unprecedented degree of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 group M diversity in the Democratic Republic of Congo suggests that the HIV-1 pandemic orginated in central Africa. Journal of Virology: 74: 10498-10507.)
Chlamydia not a cause of multiple sclerosis after all
Contrary to previously published reports, the organism Chlamydia pneumoniae may not play a role in the development of multiple sclerosis after all. Researchers from the State University of New York in Brooklyn, Hahnemann University in Philadelphia and Umea University in Sweden report their findings in the November 2000 issue of
Contact: Jim Sliwa
American Society for Microbiology