News & CommentAIDS Research

Virus From 1959 Sample Marks Early Years of HIV

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  06 Feb 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5352, pp. 801
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5352.801

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


In the current issue of Nature, researchers report the first solid evidence to support the theory that HIV was lurking in the human population by the 1950s: They have fished out and sequenced fragments of an early HIV-1 genome from a 1959 blood plasma sample. The results, if correct, would make this the earliest confirmed case of HIV infection. Now a comparison of the virus's genome with that of modern HIV strains is providing information on how much the virus has evolved--information that might help researchers design drugs and vaccines. And it may hold clues to how and when HIV jumped the species barrier from monkeys or chimpanzees to humans.