HIV pandemic's origins located: It may have emerged in Congo in 1920s

hiv
Scanning electron micrograph of an HIV-infected H9 T cell. Credit: NIAID

The HIV pandemic with us today is almost certain to have begun its global spread from Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), according to a new study.

An international team, led by Oxford University and University of Leuven scientists, has reconstructed the genetic history of the HIV-1 group M , the event that saw HIV spread across the African continent and around the world, and concluded that it originated in Kinshasa. The team's analysis suggests that the of group M is highly likely to have emerged in Kinshasa around 1920 (with 95% of estimated dates between 1909 and 1930).

HIV is known to have been transmitted from primates and apes to humans at least 13 times but only one of these transmission events has led to a human pandemic. It was only with the event that led to HIV-1 group M that a pandemic occurred, resulting in almost 75 million infections to date. The team's analysis suggests that, between the 1920s and 1950s, a 'perfect storm' of factors, including urban growth, strong railway links during Belgian colonial rule, and changes to the sex trade, combined to see HIV emerge from Kinshasa and spread across the globe.

A report of the research is published in this week's Science.

'Until now most studies have taken a piecemeal approach to HIV's genetic history, looking at particular HIV genomes in particular locations,' said Professor Oliver Pybus of Oxford University's Department of Zoology, a senior author of the paper. 'For the first time we have analysed all the available evidence using the latest phylogeographic techniques, which enable us to statistically estimate where a virus comes from. This means we can say with a high degree of certainty where and when the HIV pandemic originated. It seems a combination of factors in Kinshasa in the early 20th Century created a 'perfect storm' for the emergence of HIV, leading to a generalised epidemic with unstoppable momentum that unrolled across sub-Saharan Africa.'

'Our study required the development of a statistical framework for reconstructing the spread of viruses through space and time from their genome sequences,' said Professor Philippe Lemey of the University of Leuven's Rega Institute, another senior author of the paper. 'Once the pandemic's spatiotemporal origins were clear they could be compared with historical data and it became evident that the early spread of HIV-1 from Kinshasa to other population centres followed predictable patterns.'

One of the factors the team's analysis suggests was key to the HIV pandemic's origins was the DRC's transport links, in particular its railways, that made Kinshasa one of the best connected of all central African cities.

'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 Dr Nuno Faria of Oxford University's Department of Zoology, first author of the paper. 'Our genetic data tells us that HIV very quickly spread across the Democratic Republic of the Congo (a country the size of Western Europe), travelling with people along railways and waterways to reach Mbuji-Mayi and Lubumbashi in the extreme South and Kisangani in the far North by the end of the 1930s and early 1950s. This helped establishing early secondary foci of HIV-1 transmission in regions that were well connected to southern and eastern African countries. 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.'

It had been suggested that demographic growth or genetic differences between HIV-1 group M and other strains might be major factors in the establishment of the HIV pandemic. However the team's evidence suggests that, alongside transport, social changes such as the changing behaviour of sex workers, and public health initiatives against other diseases that led to the unsafe use of needles may have contributed to turning HIV into a full-blown epidemic – supporting ideas originally put forward by study co-author Jacques Pepin from the Université de Sherbrooke, Canada.

Professor Oliver Pybus said: 'Our research suggests that following the original animal to human transmission of the virus (probably through the hunting or handling of bush meat) there was only a small 'window' during the Belgian colonial era for this particular strain of HIV to emerge and spread into a pandemic. By the 1960s transport systems, such as the railways, that enabled the virus to spread vast distances were less active, but by that time the seeds of the pandemic were already sown across Africa and beyond.'

The team says that more research is needed to understand the role different social factors may have played in the origins of the HIV pandemic; in particular research on archival specimens to study the origins and evolution of HIV, and research into the relationship between the spread of Hepatitis C and the use of unsafe needles as part of public health initiatives may give further insights into the conditions that helped HIV to spread so widely.


Explore further

Scientists discover HIV antibody that binds to novel target on virus

More information: The early spread and epidemic ignition of HIV-1 in human populations, Science, 2014. www.sciencemag.org/lookup/doi/ … 1126/science.1256739
Journal information: Science

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Oct 02, 2014
"Located" means, umm, "located."

Oct 02, 2014
Weird that the article blames railways for the spread of AIDS more than fornicators and homosexuals. If anything, this AIDS epidemic has taughts us the age-old wisdom of monogamy---the most lasting and enjoying way to live.


Actually, Verkle, contrary to the modern interpretation of the Bible, and the modern definition of Marriage, the Bible never actually forbids Polygamy, except to practicing clergy, of whom it says they should be "the husband of one wife".

In fact, in the old testament the only restriction in the "Law" was that they shouldn't marry a woman and her sister while the first woman was alive.

"fornication" and "polygamy" are two different things, by the way.

The first being only loosely defined in the Bible, and the term may actually be more strongly associated with temple prostitution and idolatry, rather than "premarital sex," though the usage is certainly there.

The latter being marriage involving more than one woman per man.

Oct 02, 2014
In the case of David, when he murdered Bathsheba's first husband, the Bible says that the prophet came to him and pronounced a parable before him, and David unknowingly pronounced a "four fold" judgement upon himself in response to the parable. The prophet gives the interpretation of hte parable, where he talks abotu how David stole his neighbors wife and killed him, and it said that God had given him his wives(plural) and that had he asked for more they would have been given, but because of this sin God allowed several terrible tragedies which he otherwise would have prevented, starting with his own family backstabbing him and trying to grab power. Most are familliar wiht the story.

But note the relevant point here, it said God would have given him more (when he was righteous prior to the murder) had he simply asked. He had 10 concubines and 14 "wives".

Christian polygamy was a relatively common thing up until about 150 to 200 years ago.

Oct 02, 2014
BTW.

I'm not talking about the idiot cult crap like what Warren Jeffs was doing, or "forced marriages". I'm talking about consenting adults who understand what they are getting into.


Oct 02, 2014
In reality polygamy is not a viable option for most men. There are only a limited number of women. It will breed envy, and is a way for the rich to take away from the poor.


Yet the same missionaries no doubt talked about "Justification by Faith", using Paul's references to Abraham, the same Abraham who was a polygamist and had at the least 3 or 4 wives that we can prove from the Bible, and the context suggests at least 2 or 3 simultaneously as well, maybe a lot more than that. It also says God blessed Ishmael, the same one Sarah and Abraham kicked out, and also made him a father of many nations, and he had 12 princes, etc.

A certain evangelical preacher today claims that the "flesh can do nothing," but that isn't entirely correct at all.

In the parable, Hagar represents the flesh, and Sarah the Spirit, but Hagar is actually the first to conceive, and the first to be blessed. Paul actually said it is, "sown a natural body and raised a spiritual."

Oct 02, 2014
Organized christianity, after the first several centuries, turned everything into religious bondages, "fence laws" and do-gooding, and holy days, etc, which is what Paul spent half his writings opposing.

I suppose I should know better than most on this, because I've been on both sides of the fence concerning so-called "ultra-conservative" christianity, seeing as how I was raised that way.

They talk about being "free from sin" when in fact they are slaves to it, because they only thing they do with their lives is...talk about being free from sin....

Which was again missing the point, because there's more to life than just trying to be perfect (Ecclesiastes even says not to try to be too righteous, try that one on for size,) there's more important things even than that, like love and mercy.

I don't want to be "perfect". I just want love. Anybody can love "perfect" I suppose.

Doesn't mean we should look down on others who are closer to the ideal either though.

Oct 03, 2014
I won't even read past the header. They can't even figure out if they located it.

yep
Oct 03, 2014
I always thought it was vaccines on monkey tissue.

Verkle, giraffes are especially gay did God make them like that or do they just choose to be that way? Do you think he will punish them for their homosexuality?

What about all the other animals as well? Why did "he" make so many gay animals?

If you think about it maybes God is gay? We are all fashioned in "his" image and "he" is infallible right?


Oct 03, 2014
In fact, in the old testament the only restriction in the "Law" was that they shouldn't marry a woman and her sister while the first woman was alive.
Yes and if she is unfaithful you are obligated to stone her.
And like you say it was a requirement for the clergy.
"One would only need a law prohibiting polygamy by leaders if polygamy was accepted among lay persons."

-The reason the OT is a part of your xian bible is because the practices described therein are all very useful, and are enacted by you xians when conditions warrant. All religions employ polygamy as a way of maximizing growth and replacing battle losses faster than the enemy.

"When the Christian Church came into being, polygamy was still practiced by the Jews"

The LDS religion was configured to quickly populate the midwest, to supply workers for the mines and to put civil war widows to good use.

Oct 03, 2014
Organized christianity... is what Paul spent half his writings opposing
Except that upwards of half his writings werent written by him.

"Nearly half of the New Testament is a forgery, according to a provocative new book that charges the Apostle Paul authored only a fraction of the letters attributed to him and the Apostle Peter wrote nothing.

"Written by Bart Ehrman, a former evangelical Christian and now agnostic professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, the book claims to unveil "one of the most unsettling ironies of the early Christian tradition": the use of deception to promote the truth.

"According to the biblical scholar, at least 11 of the 27 New Testament books are forgeries, while only seven of the 13 epistles attributed to Paul were probably written by him."

-So youre deluded about science AND god as well as your own mental superpowers.

yep
Oct 04, 2014
It is the absolute truth, giraffes are especially gay.

I am totally serious. It has been observed in over 500 species. Do not take my word for it look it up. Some claim its over 1500 now.


Oct 04, 2014
Yep, if you were serious I would answer you. But it appears you are not.
Don't want to waste any time answering your foolish questions.

Ghost---same with you.
Faith is belief despite evidence. The only way you can believe is if you are able to ignore the obvious. In many circumstances this would be considered a form of insanity but with believers it is considered a virtue.

The dog gladly leaps through the hoop even though to him it makes no sense. The reward isn't even that great but he has been bred for hundreds of gens for his ability to ignore the obvious.

Imagine what believers will do for eternity in heaven, even though there is no evidence whatsoever for it. No matter - it is the jumping that is important. It is what they have been bred for.

Make no mistake verkle - I am extremely serious. I bring you facts and you ignore them. Big surprise.

Oct 05, 2014
According to a doctor friend of mine, AIDS was due to the practice of sex with the apes and monkeys.

Oct 05, 2014
Weird that the article blames railways for the spread of AIDS more than fornicators and homosexuals. If anything, this AIDS epidemic has taughts us the age-old wisdom of monogamy---the most lasting and enjoying way to live
@verkle
personal conjecture not supported by evidence
are you saying that all people with AIDS have been gay?
are you really that ignorant?

sex is NOT the only way AIDS is transmitted

it gets transmitted through bodily fluids which can be through sexual OR OTHER types of contact, which is why surgeons used to double-glove, emergency workers wear protection as well as warn about the sharing of needles etc

If you are going to use your religion like a weapon, you should study the subject first to find out how appropriate or stupid you will look with your comments

Oct 05, 2014
Strict polygamy would also not generally influence the spread of AIDS
@verkle
wrong again. in fact monogamy AND polygamy both can spread AIDS through various means, from sex to sharing fluids infected with HIV, etc. it would depend who died first and remairraige on whether or not AIDS spread through sex with monogamy
Yep, if you were serious I would answer you. But it appears you are not
Don't want to waste any time answering your foolish questions
Ghost---same with you
The problem with sharing your religion on a SCIENCE site is that you tend to be proven wrong with FACTS, in which Yep and Ghost BOTH score points and you've still not been able to produce anything (unless you count rote regurgitation of belief and biblical quotes)
even your biblical quotes depend upon which interpretation you are choosing to use... and ALL xtian OT writings are redacted for reasons NOT of faith, but of promotion and greed

that is why you shouldn't bring religion onto a SCIENCE site

Oct 05, 2014
only quoting the Bible when it suits your need
@verkle
but this is exactly what YOU are doing as well. the bible says you can sell your daughter: did you? it tells you to stone your wife for transgressions (which, according to the NT would include even THINKING about sex with another man or thinking about wrongful acts and having lust/envy/etc MAT 5:28) so did you stone your own spouse?
This is why religion and science do not mix: everything you believe in is because of a FAITH (which is the belief in something without proof) whereas science requires empirical evidence (which a faith cannot give)... and a RELIGION is only good for CONTROLLING people and causing divisiveness. that is why there are so many factions of xtians

leave your judgements to your god (as it says in your own book) and especially off this site (regarding gays) because they're unfounded
AIDS was due to the practice of sex with the apes
@Brigham
links/proof?
there is more than one way to spread HIV/AIDS

Oct 05, 2014
lastly
you are the typical liberal
@verkle
actually, that is considered RATIONAL thought as well as inquiry that should make you reconsider the blatant stupidity of your remarks regarding homosexuals, HIV/AIDS and your religion.
Your own religion ihad a hand in the spread of HIV/AIDS
the changing behaviour of sex workers, and public health initiatives against other diseases that led to the unsafe use of needles may have contributed to turning HIV into a full-blown epidemic
the xtian movement against condoms
the xtian anti-health initiatives that condemned drug users to share needles
the xtian two faced judgmental people who condemn prostitution but then also spread disease by paying for sex

you and your religion are just as complicit as anyone else in this pandemic. Mostly because of ignorance and stupidity, and clinging to outdated beliefs in the face of modern technology.

If you want to condemn someone for the mass killing of people, start with RELIGIONS

Oct 06, 2014
Captain---you sound like a typical irate irrational "don't-mess-with-me" type of liberal. If you were seriously looking for the truth, I would respond. But I know you aren't. You claim to be knowledgable of the Bible, but your comments show otherwise.

I will not waste my time debating with you.



Good idea. Why not just fuck off permanently?

Oct 06, 2014
Good idea. Why not just fuck off permanently?
--rockturd
Why so angry rockturd?
Did mummy finally reveal that your daddy was the cheapest, fast acting laxative she could find?

Oct 06, 2014
Good idea. Why not just fuck off permanently?
--rockturd
Why so angry rockturd?
Did mummy finally reveal that your daddy was the cheapest, fast acting laxative she could find?


Poor ignoracle. Your constant references to "mummy" tell me an interesting story of your youth.

Did your mom abuse you? Did you deserve it?

Did she abandon you? Did you deserve it?

My guess is yes, yes, yes and yes.

Poor you. Not everyone's life sucks. Just yours.

Nov 17, 2014
Somebody got raped by an ape. Get over it and get a life, people.

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