A 38-year-old man from the Democratic Republic of Congo is the one that had a lymph node with a hidden RNA for more than 50 years. This little tissue was kept close in a block of paraffin, and it’s the size of a nail. With the help of the scientists from the University of Arizona, the discoveries begin. Unfortunately, by now, the research isn’t published in a scientific journal.
The scientists extracted from the tissue a genetic sequence of an HIV, and it is starting the theory about AIDS transmission. They recovered the full-length of an HIV-1 virus, and they are saying that AIDS was transmitted to people from the first decade of the 20th Century. The virologic and archeology tests, blood samples on old tissue were all made by Michael Worobey for more than five years.
However, even if their research isn’t published yet, Oliver Pybus, who works as a professor of evolution and infectious disease at the University of Oxford, is praising the work of the team. Thanks to the recent discoveries on the archived tissue specimen, they can improve the knowledge and make more conclusions about the new HIV gene, and confine on the judgment rendered for the current model of the HIV gene.
Moving back to the old sample from 1966, the extraction is older than the previous oldest sequence by a decade. From all this data collected, they could figure out what the virus was looking like and when they were circulating in Africa. And this is happening about 15 years before AIDS started in the United States through gay men. Furthermore, they could also find out how HIV moved from primates to people.
Finally, most of the information is sending the scientists around 1900s or at least at the final years of the 1800s. Also, Worobey is having a lot of data from the 1960s that are showing the circulation of the viruses and the diversity transmitted among humans. Of course, the research won’t stop here because it’s like a long project, and many data should be taken into consideration.
Benjamin Diaz started working for Debate Report in 2017. Ben grew up in a small town in northern Ontario. He studied chemistry in college, graduated, and married his wife a year later. Benhas been a proud Torontonian for the past 10 years. He covers politics and the economy. Previously he wrote for CTV News and the Huffington Post Canada.