SIV Epidemic?

Brian Foley btf at t10.lanl.gov
Tue Sep 8 11:59:34 EST 1998

TRKeske wrote:
> A question:
> Everyone knows that there are AIDS-like viruses in the 
> animal world: SIV (simian), FIV (feline), BIV (bovine).
> Is there an "SIV epidemic" going on (ditto for the others)?


> Is the global monkey population endangered?

There is no global monkey population.  There are many different
species of old and new world primates.  We have not yet
found any SIV in new world primates.  Many old-world primates
that have been studied, each have there own SIV.  The
chimpanzee SIV is related to HIV-1.  The sooty mangabey SIV
is related to HIV-2.  There are several different species
of African green monkeys (Mandril, Sabaeus, Tanatlus, Grivet)
and they each have there own SIV, all more closely related
to each other than to HIV-1 or HIV-2.

Most of the SIVs seem to be relatively nonpathogenic within
their own natural host.  There are theories of virus-host
evolution that seek to explain the predator/prey relationships
observed.  A virus that rapidly kills all of its hosts rapidly
goes to extinction along with the host.  So viruses that
readily infect many hosts (such as influenza) tend to not
kill a huge percentage of those infected.  

> Monkeys do not perform "safe sex" and are not monogamous.  SIV has
> been around much longer than HIV.  If HIV has spread so far, you would
> think that SIV might be endangering the entire species, by now.

If (and that is the big if) SIV killed its host before the
host could live to reproduce, then it could potentially
lead to extinction of the host.

We do not know how much longer the SIVs have been around, than
HIV.  But it is safe to assume the various SIVs have been around
for a least 50-100 years longer than HIV-1 or HIV-2.

> I can find no data.  Any information on this would be welcome.

Try a Medline search for simian immunodeficiency virus:


That will give you 1,958 research publications published
in the last 5 years on this topic.
Data abounds.  

> Tom Keske
> Boston, Mass.

|Brian T. Foley               btf at t10.lanl.gov                       |
|HIV Database                 (505) 665-1970                         |
|Los Alamos National Lab      http://hiv-web.lanl.gov/index.html     |
|Los Alamos, NM 87544  U.S.A. http://www.t10.lanl.gov/~btf/home.html |

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