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Wild chimps in Cameroon reported as thesource for HIV virus

By Martin Booth, Eartht Tmes

Special to USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston, CLASSmagazine, USAfricaonline.comand The Black BusinessJournal

It is now 25 years since the HIV virus was discovered. The sourceof this virus, believed to be the African jungles has remained amystery. But now an international team of researchers led by BeatriceHahn of the Universityof Alabama at Birmingham has traced the virus to its naturalreservoir in the wild chimps in jungles of south Cameroon.

Their findings appear in the latest issue of the journalScience. "We're 25 years into this pandemic," Dr. Hahn said. "Wedon't have a cure. We don't have a vaccine. But we know where it camefrom. At least we can make a check mark on one of those." But findingthe source was dirty work since theresearchers had to track the chimps and then collect 1,300 samples oftheir feces for genetic analysis. The study has been going on for adecade. It took them seven years to create a genetic tool that couldhelp in the analysis.

Scientists have known from a long time that animals have adifferent version of HIV called SIV or simian immunodeficiency virus.However this is not that lethal in animals and does not cause immunedisease in them. The main source was detected in the subspecies Pantroglodytes troglodytes.

There are three known types of HIV-1. Scientists think that as thevirus transferred itself to humans probably from a chimp bite on ahunter, it changed its characteristic to a deadly form. The firsthuman infected with HIV was a man from Kinshasa in Congo in 1959.

"It is likely that the jump between chimps and humans occurred insouth-east Cameroon - and that virus then spread across the world,"said Paul Sharp, professor of genetics at the University ofNottingham, who was also a part of the research team. "When youconsider that HIV probably originated more than 75 years ago, it ismost unlikely that there are any viruses out there that will prove tobe more closely related to the human virus." He added that the teamwas now working to understand the genetic differences "between SIVcpzand HIV-1 evolved as a response to the species jump."


Beatrice Hahn of the University of Alabama, USA, who led the studysaid, "The chimpanzee group that gave rise to HIV.....this chimpcommunity resides in Cameroon. But that doesn't mean the epidemicoriginated there because it didn't," Hahn, who has been studying thegenetic origin of HIV for years, said in a telephone interview. "Weactually know where the epidemic took off. The epidemic took off inKinshasa and Brazzaville." Kinshasa is in the Democratic Republic ofCongo, formerly Zaire and faces Brazzaville in Congo, across theCongo River.

Uganda's first AIDS cases were identified in 1982 with aprevalence rate hitting 9% in 1988. Currently, there are 1.4m peopleestimated to be infected with HIV. Of these, 170,000 are in urgentneed of anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs).

Dr. Sam Okware, a commissioner in the ministry of health, said thechimp story was not new. "That is an old story. Since theidentification of HIV, that story has been around," Okware said.

Studies have traced HIV to a man who gave a blood sample in 1959in Kinshasa, then called Leopoldville. Later analysis found the virusthat leads to AIDS. In people, HIV leads to AIDS but chimps get aversion called simian immune deficiency virus (SIV) that causes themno harm. Humans are the only animals naturally susceptible to HIV.(New Vision of Uganda)


DEMOCRACYWATCH: What Bush Should TellObasanjo.... By ChidoNwangwu (Founder and Publisher of USAfricaonline.com): TodayMarch 29, 2006, at the White House, where Bush also met a few daysearlier with Liberia's Sirleaf, new face of Africa; welcomedNigeria's President retiredGeneral Olusegun Obasanjo, an old face of Africa, to thank him forregional support of the U.S.,discuss "strengtheningdemocratic institutions, and the need to bring Charles Taylor tojustice." (Both presidents are seen in this 2004 USAfrica newsarchive picture). The visit comes against the current background ofthe outrageous nonsense parroted by hangers-on and political idolworshippers, the philistines of Nigeria's politics who have sincebecome the domestic and international canvassers of the indecentbaloney that: Nigeria's constitution must be amended for one man,retired General Olusegun Obasanjo, to govern for a 3rd 4-year term(12 years!). This they,  shamelessly, claim is for Nigeria'ssurvival. Worse, they add that without Obasanjo, there will be noprogress, criminality of the political economy will abound and thepolity will collapse. Good heavens! Thesheer hubris that Nigeria can only move forward only by the "divine"and eternal governance of a 74-year former dictator Obasanjo issimply stupefying and immoral, to say the veryleast.  Hence, the enabled executors and conductors of thisfolly on behalf of Obasanjo only remind me of the infamous words ofthe 17th century  French monarch, Louis X1V (1638-1715) whoreportedly said "L'État, c'est moi"  meaning  "I amthe State." If only Obasanjo could drive us back to the 17th century;only there was no Nigeria, at the time.

In comparison, while Liberia's Madam President Sirleaf representsthe manifestation of the triumph of popular constitutional methodsand emerging institutional democratic values in Africa, retiredGeneral Obasanjo's imperious, know-it-all, emerging project for asit-tight  presidency in Nigeria remind us all of the 1970sold Africa where constitution-tweaking soldiers (his colleagues) andpower drunks  funnily believed their country's sun rose andshone at their hideous and idiosyncratic say-so. We won't go backthere; no; not now that we  have the great Nelson Mandelaas our icon, historical benchmark and reference point. Obasanjo makesit difficult for Obasanjo to be a statesman; no doubt, he's aregional leader.

As a specialist on US. and Africa public policy and culturalissues, here are things I'll suggest President Bush tell PresidentObasanjo, in a short, sweet but realistic summary: Fullcommentary here



DIPLOMACY Walter Carrington: African-American diplomat who put principles above self for Nigeria (USAfrica's founder Chido Nwangwu with Ambassador Carrington at the U.S. embassy, Nigeria)

 


Osama bin-Laden's goons threaten Nigeria and Africa's stability. By Chido Nwangwu

How Obasanjo's self-succession charade at his Ota Farm has turned Nigeria to an 'Animal Farm.' By USAfricaonline.com contributor Prof. Mobolaji Aluko
LITERATURE:

Why
CHINUA ACHEBE, the Eagle on the Iroko, is Africa's writer of the century.
DEMOCRACY'S WARRIOR
Out of Africa. The cock that crows in the morning belongs to one household but his voice is the property of the neighborhood. -- Chinua Achebe, Anthills of the Savannah. An editor carries on his crusade against public corruption and press censorship in his native Nigeria and other African countries. By John Suval.
POLITICS and POLICY
African Union: Old wine in new skin?
Why Nigeria and Africa's leaders are leading us to nowhere. By Professor Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe, contributing editor of USAfricaonline.com, author of the highly-acclaimed African Literature in Defence of History: An Essay on Chinua Achebe and a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics.
NEWS INVESTIGATION: The Marc Rich Oil Deals in Nigeria
OIL in NIGERIA: Liquid Gold or Petro-Dollars Curse?
Obasanjo's Biafra and anti-Igbo battles running past 33 years. By Professor Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe, USAfricaonline.com contributing editor of USAfricaonline.com, author of the highly-acclaimed African Literature in Defence of History: An Essay on Chinua Achebe
Obasanjo's obsession with Biafra versus facts of history. By Prof. Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe
Should Africa debates begin and end at The New York Times and The Washington Post? No

Lindhs' Mandela comparison is foolish and scandalous.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Why Bush should focus on dangers facing Nigeria's return to democracy and Obasanjo's slipperyslide.
Obasanjo's late wake to the Sharia crises, Court's decision and Nigeria's democracy. By Ken Okorie
Obasanjo's own challenge is to imbibe "democratic spirit and practice," By Prof. Ibiyinka Solarin
Is Obasanjo really up to Nigeria's challenge and crises? By USAfrica The Newspaper editorial board member, attorney Ken Okorie. This commentary appears courtesy of our related web site, NigeriaCentral.com
Obasanjo's late wake to the Sharia crises, Court's decision and Nigeria's democracy. By Ken Okorie

Sharia-related killings and carnage in Kaduna reenact deadly prologue to Nigeria-Biafra war of 1967. By Chido Nwangwu.
Jonas Savimbi, UNITA are "terrorists" in Africans' eyes despite Washington's "freedom fighter" toga for him. By SHANA WILLS

Nelson Mandela, Tribute to the world's political superstar and Lion of Africa  
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's burden mounts with murder charges, trials

ARINZE: Will he be the FIRST BLACK AFRICAN POPE? By Chido Nwangwu
HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY
How far, how deep will Nigeria's human rights commission go?
Johnnie Cochran will soon learn that defending Abacha's loot is not as simple as his O.J Simpson's case. By Chido Nwangwu

APPRECIATION
A young father writes his One year old son: "If only my heart had a voice...."



TRIBUTE
A KING FOR ALL TIMES: Why Martin Luther King's legacy and vision are relevant into 21st century.



Why Chinua Achebe, the Eagle on the Iroko, is Africa's writer of the century. By Chido Nwangwu


Since 1958, Achebe's "Things Fall Apart" set a standard of artistic excellence, and more. By Douglas Killam
DEMOCRACY DEBATE
CNN International debate on Nigeria's democracy livecast on CNN. It involved Nigeria's Information Minister Prof. Jerry Gana, Prof. Salih Booker and USAfricaonline.com Publisher Chido Nwangwu. Transcripts are available on the CNN International site.

USAfrica The Newspaper voted the "Best Community Newspaper" in the 4th largest city in the U.S., Houston. It is in the Best of Houston 2001 special as chosen by the editors and readers of the Houston Press, reflecting their poll and annual rankings.

Tragedy of Ige's murder is its déjà vu for the Yoruba southwest and rest of Nigeria. By Ken Okorie
What has Africa to do with September 11 terror? By Chido Nwangwu
Should Africa debates begin and end at The New York Times and The Washington Post? No
NEWS INSIGHT
CNN, Obasanjo and Nigeria's struggles with democracy.
Why Obasanjo's government should respect
CNN and Freedom of the press in Nigeria.
Jonas Savimbi, UNITA are "terrorists" in Africans' eyes despite Washington's "freedom fighter" toga for him. By SHANA WILLS


Lifestyle
Sex, Women and (Hu)Woman Rights. By Chika Unigwe

Africa suffers the scourge of the virus. This life and pain of Kgomotso Mahlangu, a five-month-old AIDS patient (above) in a hospital in the Kalafong township near Pretoria, South Africa, on October 26, 1999, brings a certain, frightening reality to the sweeping and devastating destruction of human beings who form the core of any definition of a country's future, its national security, actual and potential economic development and internal markets.
22 million Africans HIV-infected, ill with AIDS while African leaders ignore disaster-in-waiting

What has Africa to do with September 11 terror? By Chido Nwangwu
Africans reported dead in terrorist attack at WTC
September 11 terror and the ghost of things to come....
Will religious conflicts be the time-bomb for Nigeria's latest transition to civilian rule?
Bola Ige's murder another danger signal for Nigeria's nascent democracy.

In a special report a few hours after the history-making nomination, USAfricaonline.com Founder and Publisher Chido Nwangwu places Powell within the trajectory of history and into his unfolding clout and relevance in an essay titled 'Why Colin Powell brings gravitas, credibility and star power to Bush presidency.'

AFRICA AND THE U.S. ELECTIONS
Beyond U.S. electoral shenanigans, rewards and dynamics of a democratic republic hold lessons for African politics.
CONTINENTAL AGENDA
Bush's position on Africa is "ill-advised." The position stated by Republican presidential aspirant and Governor of Texas, George Bush where he said that "Africa will not be an area of priority" in his presidency has been questioned by USAfricaonline.com Publisher Chido Nwangwu. He added that Bush's "pre-election position was neither validated by the economic exchanges nor geo-strategic interests of our two continents."

These views were stated during an interview CNN's anchor Bernard Shaw and senior analyst Jeff Greenfield had with Mr. Nwangwu on Saturday November 18, 2000 during a special edition of 'Inside Politics 2000.'
Nwangwu, adviser to the Mayor of Houston (the 4th largest city in the U.S., and immigrant home to thousands of Africans) argued further that "the issues of the heritage interests of 35 million African-Americans in Africa, the volume and value of oil business between between the U.S and Nigeria and the horrendous AIDS crisis in Africa do not lend any basis for Governor Bush's ill-advised position which removes Africa from fair consideration" were he to be elected president.
By Al Johnson



Rtd. Gen. Babangida trip as emissary for Nigeria's Obasanjo to Sudan raises curiosity, questions about what next in power play?
110 minutes with Hakeem Olajuwon
Nigerian stabbed to death in his bathroom in Houston.
Cheryl Mills' first class defense of Clinton and her detractors' game 
It's wrong to stereotype Nigerians as Drug Dealers

Private initiative, free market forces, and more democratization are Keys to prosperity in Africa


Apple announces Titanium, "killer apps" and other ground-breaking products for 2001. iTunes makes a record 500,000 downloads.
Steve Jobs extends
digital magic

USAfrica The Newspaper voted the "Best Community Newspaper" in the 4th largest city in the U.S., Houston. It is in the Best of Houston 2001 special as chosen by the editors and readers of the Houston Press, reflecting their poll and annual rankings.