Tags: hiv | origins | kinshasa | 1920s

HIV Origins: Kinshasa Identified as Birthplace of Virus

By    |   Friday, 03 Oct 2014 12:48 PM

HIV's origins were traced back to 1920s Kinshasa, a city in the Democratic Republic of Congo, through a reconstructed genetic history this week.

Agence France-Presse reported via MSN that scientists knew previously that the virus that causes AIDS has jumped from primates to humans at least 13 times, but were finally able to isolate the common ancestor of the one transmission that caused the current global pandemic.

"For the first time we have analyzed all the available evidence using the latest phylogeographic techniques, which enable us to statistically estimate where a virus comes from," said Oxford University's Oliver Pybus, the lead author of the new study published Friday in the journal Science.

"This means we can say with a high degree of certainty where and when the HIV pandemic originated."

In tracing the HIV-1 group M pandemic to its origin, scientists discovered that a perfect storm of external factors helped spread the disease. Likely the biggest factors in the spread of the virus from the 1920s through the 1950s were the rise of train transportation and sex work.

Back then, Kinshasa was under Belgian colonial rule, and as development rose and the Congo became internationally connected, the virus was able to spread to other regions of Africa, and eventually to other continents.

"Data from colonial archives tells us that by the end of 1940s, over one million people were travelling through Kinshasa on the railways each year," said Oxford University's Nuno Faria, first author of the study.

"We think it is likely that the social changes around the independence in 1960 saw the virus 'break out' from small groups of infected people to infect the wider population and eventually the world."

In the second half of the 20th century, campaigns to treat those with sexually transmitted diseases in some cases were carried out with needles that weren't sterile, further spreading the disease.

HIV was eventually identified in 1981. A decade later, antiretroviral drugs began transforming HIV/AIDS from a fatal disease to a chronic condition. An estimated 75 million people have been infected with HIV over the years, and 36 million have died from AIDS.

© 2017 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 
1Like our page
2Share
TheWire
HIV's origins were traced back to 1920s Kinshasa, a city in the Democratic Republic of Congo, through a reconstructed genetic history this week.
hiv, origins, kinshasa, 1920s
355
2014-48-03
Friday, 03 Oct 2014 12:48 PM
Newsmax Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved