Where Did HIV Come From?
This is a question that may never be fully answered. However, there is an obvious
explanation. HIV, the human immunodefiency virus, is closely related to viruses
found in monkeys and other animals, the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) and the feline
immunodeficiency virus (FIV) being examples. It isn't unusual for viruses to make
the jump from animals to humans, creating a new virulent form of infection in humans.
A familiar example is the flu, technically known as influenza. The influenza
virus lives and replicates in animals as well as people. While in animals, it
mutates into new forms. Most of these mutations aren't viable. Due to the law
of averages, however a new mutation will occasionally come along that can infect humans.
People who live in close proximity with animals, as they do in the developing countries,
are then infected with the new mutation. Because it's a new form of influenza, no
one is immune and the virus can be wuite virulent. The virus is spread through
international travel, producing a pandemic or worldwide epidemic that results in many
deaths.(Mother Nature never intended for us to build jet airliners.) HIV
probably jumped to humans in the same way. The exact mechanism by which the
jump was made is something we may never know. One theory is that humans in Africa
ate monkeys that were infected with the virus.
Another is that the virus contaminated a polio vaccine that was grown on monkey kidneys
and was then used to vaccinate a large population of Africans. The best answer we
can give is to poinnt out where all viruses came from: the evolution, adaption and
competition that gave rise to all life on Earth as part of the great experiment being
conducted by Mother Nature.
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