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Virus ancestor to HIV older than believed

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posted on Dec, 2 2008 @ 02:53 PM

Gifford and his colleagues studied grey mouse lemurs, squirrel-sized, saucer-eyed primates found on the island nation of Madagascar, off the west coast of Africa. They found that the lemur genomes they studied carried lentiviruses, which are among a family of viruses that include HIV. Lentiviruses have been intensely studied since the emergence of AIDS in 1981.

While the discovery of lentiviruses in lemurs itself surprised the researchers, what especially stunned them was the realization that lemurs must have carried the virus for at least 14 million years. That was the last time a land bridge may have existed between the island and the mainland, providing an opportunity for another species infected with the virus to pass it to the geographically-isolated animals, which are native only to Madagascar.

At the outside, lemurs may have carried the virus for as long as 85 million years, when the primate family that includes lemurs split from the evolutionary branch that gave rise to monkeys, apes and humans.

Man-made HIV theories abound, but there is evidence that this strain of viruses is much, much older than mankind.


Honing in on how long species carrying lentiviruses have harbored the pathogens helps scientists understand how they spread and evolve in wild populations, and the prevalence of biological defenses against them. Certain species of primates, such as mandrills, sooty mangabeys and green monkeys, harbor the viruses without getting ill.

That knowledge, in turn, could be used to protect humans from transmission of other HIV-like viruses still confined to wildlife. It could also aid in drug development by pinpointing those features of the virus which remain fixed through its long evolution. These fixed features may prove critical for normal functioning of the virus, and provide a vulnerable target for new AIDS drugs.

One strain of HIV, called HIV-2, is widely accepted to have been passed from sooty mangabeys in West Africa to humans, probably bushmeat hunters or those keeping the primates as pets, or both. Scientists believe the other strain, HIV-1, was passed from chimpanzees to humans.

Interesting information for anyone who follows the development of this mystery....

posted on Dec, 2 2008 @ 03:00 PM
How do we that this was not weaponized for lack of a better phrase to spread death among the masses?

posted on Dec, 2 2008 @ 03:06 PM
reply to post by Maxmars

Besides the pets and bushmeat transmission concepts, I remember reading years ago a book called "Blood Secrets" by Isaiah Oke wherein he posited that AIDS jumped species while various primates were being cut up alive in ceremonies for juju/religion...There is kind of a press black-out on that possibility, however, it seems at least as likely but seldom-to-never mentioned...

posted on Dec, 2 2008 @ 03:21 PM
reply to post by SLAYER69

Well..., we don't know that.

Of course, it could have been. But it seems they could have chosen a better, more virulent and communicable virus to work with. Considering all the options they had available to work with. Ebola comes to mind, or some other hemorrhagic infectious virus.

posted on Dec, 2 2008 @ 03:23 PM
reply to post by nine-eyed-eel

That could very well be true. I don't know the cultures around the area, so it is something worth investigating, it's better than the particularly nasty rumor of sex with animals..., yuk!

posted on Dec, 2 2008 @ 03:30 PM
Well what I mean was why not weaponize it?
I mean if I was a bioweapons guy why not use a natural virus that can be spread with relative ease SEX is great everybody likes SEX!

Some of these labs are pretty sophisticated they would find out soon enough if the Virus was synthetic or an engineered man made strain so again why not use a natural virus?

[edit on 2-12-2008 by SLAYER69]

posted on Dec, 2 2008 @ 04:05 PM
as other threads show it seems HIV virus is not the cause of Aids,

Aids is just a general term for the collapse of the Immune system, and many different diseases years ago would have been just diagnosed as such.

However if you now have two or more of these illnesses that are in the AIDS WHO definition of it you are automatically diagnosed with AIDS if the HIV virus is found in your blood too.

However there are people who have been found with the HIV virus and never developed AIDS and people who have AIDS and have died of it but with NO HIV VIRUS present.....

There is something amiss about the whole thing, and the fact that the modern Immune system of man could collapse may be more to do with pollution/modern stress and emotional problems rather than HIV.

It appears that HIV Virus has never been independently observed to actually affect the immune system as stated....

BIG MONEY , POLITICS, SEXUAL CHOICE DISCRIMINATION may be closer to any conspiracy than weaponised, though I wouldn't have put it past the South African Apartied government to have created something to be aimed at the Genes of African's which do seem from stats more likely to develop it.

I have seen other threads on this on ATS but just the headers, if not in those really do google and look for the HIV Myth or such like, some very well respected Virologists, and Medical Doctors stating what I say above! (except for the S.Africa weaponisation!)

Kind regards,


Edit to add as mentioned above info as on ATS current now:
HIV is as much linked to AIDS as ben laden to 911... ?
Why is Magic Johnson still alive?

[edit on 2-12-2008 by MischeviousElf]

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