Tuesday, December 08, 2009

AIDS Linked to Ancient Tiger Monkey Attack

tiger monkey attackA tiger that lived thousands or millions of years ago may shed light on how the AIDS virus began and how it works.

Researchers have found a strand of feline DNA in the AIDS virus, leading them to believe that the virus was incubated in ancient tigers, according to HealthDay .

They believe that the tiger may have bitten a monkey, setting in motion the viral evolution that would ultimately lead to the infection of humans.

While the finding likely won't lead to any immediate breakthroughs in AIDS treatment, it provides more understanding into how the virus works.

"Unless you really understand how these viruses work, the exact step-by-step chemical process, then you can't really rationally design a new clever kind of therapy that may be effective against the virus," explained study co-author Robert Bambara, chairman of the University of Rochester's department of biochemistry and biophysics.

The study, published online in the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology , could eventually be useful to scientists trying to find ways to better treat the disease in humans.

Full story here.

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