Multiple infection and recombinant strains of Simian Foamy Virus in humans

05 Oct 2013, by Erick

Chris and I continue to work with the groups of primatologist Lisa Jones-Engel and virologist Maxine Linial doing sequence analysis of Simian foamy virus (SFV). The second paper about that work came out recently. This paper was concerned with the viral sequences in humans infected with SFV and how they related to the local monkey-derived SFV sequences. We found that there were individual humans with more than one SFV strain, including with strains from different geographic areas, and that there were humans with recombinant SFV strains. Thus Bangladesh is a “melting pot” for these viruses and this process appears to be creating novel recombinant lineages. One thing I found interesting about this work is the dynamism of the process: SFV lineages exist in Bangladesh because of population isolation, but now we are seeing mixing because deforestation is moving the monkeys into the towns and apparently because monkeys are being moved around by humans. As this mixing continues, the individual lineages will become less distinct. Thus, if Lisa and her team had sampled 40 years earlier or later we would have seen a very different pattern.

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