Lion's and AID's

FIV Lions

LIONS and AID’s
In this project where state of the art forensic science meets with natural history, scientists have been collecting data from Africa’s lion populations not only to try and determine the impact of FIV with Africa’s lions, but because it has a striking similarity to the pattern of disease progression observed with HIV infection in humans, FIV offers a promising model system for understanding many clinical aspects of retroviral immunodeficiency syndrome and any finding could greatly improve our understanding of how to tackle the virus in humansThe scientist’s suspect that somewhere in the big cat’s gene’s lie the ultimate cure for AIDS. Scientists believe "that some people have a genetic resistance to the virus as do some of the lions. The lions got there by going through an adaptive episode and eventually humans would reach the same point. Those who are naturally resistant to HIV would tend to survive and pass on their genes, while those who are not would die off. But, we can’t afford to sit around and wait a million years to work through this epidemic. That's why we are working through the history of FIV and why we and other scientists are looking at the lion's genome, and looking at the long-term HIV survivors”. Scientists believe that it is through the work done on Africa’s lions that they will find a genetic solution for the epidemic and in so doing give Africa hope for the future.The lions also give us another kind of comfort. They demonstrate that AIDS is not some unnatural horror unique to modern civilization. Immunodeficiency viruses strike not just humans but many animals, and our suffering is typical of this stage of virus-host co-evolution. In short, the lions teach us that viruses are just another phenomenon of nature - and that nature may yet show us a way to master them.

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