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The River: A Journey Back to the Source of HIV and AIDS

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.320.7247.1481/a (Published 27 May 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:1481
  1. Sebastian Lucas, professor, department of histopathology
  1. Guy's, King's, and St Thomas's School of Medicine, London

    Edward Hooper


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    Penguin Press, £25, pp 1070

    ISBN 0 713 99335 0

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    Does it really matter how AIDS started? Not long after AIDS was described in the United States, Europe, and Haiti, it became evident that several countries in sub-Saharan Africa had far greater proportions of people already affected. The belief emerged that the human immunodeficiency viruses arose in Africa. Thanks to molecular technology, the HIV-2 virus, mainly limited to west Africa, was found to be identical in genome organisation to a simian virus (SIV) in the local sooty mangabey. Evidence accumulated about the close relation between the now pandemic HIV-1 and chimpanzee SIVs in central Africa.

    How did the viruses transmit from monkeys and apes to humans, to cause the most important zoonosis yet known? And when? …

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