Origins of HIV and the Evolution of Resistance to AIDS

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Science  28 Jul 2006:
Vol. 313, Issue 5786, pp. 462-466
DOI: 10.1126/science.1123016

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The cross-species transmission of lentiviruses from African primates to humans has selected viral adaptations which have subsequently facilitated human-to-human transmission. HIV adapts not only by positive selection through mutation but also by recombination of segments of its genome in individuals who become multiply infected. Naturally infected nonhuman primates are relatively resistant to AIDS-like disease despite high plasma viral loads and sustained viral evolution. Further understanding of host resistance factors and the mechanisms of disease in natural primate hosts may provide insight into unexplored therapeutic avenues for the prevention of AIDS.

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