Scientists now agree that HIV started in Africa from people eating dead monkeys–or “bushmeat”–that had the disease. The virus then mutated into a form that can infect human beings. Now researchers say it’s happening again in Africa with a brand-new virus. Will this one be as deadly as AIDS?
Andy Coghlan writes in New Scientist that once again, the virus jumped from monkeys to man from the eating of bushmeat. It was once thought that such a mutation was rare, but now scientists think it may be common. “Our research shows the transmission of retroviruses to humans is not limited to a few, isolated occurrences like those that gave rise to HIV,” says researcher Nathan Wolfe. “It’s a regular phenomenon, and a cause for concern.”