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AIDS. 1992 May;6(5):447-51.

Isolation and characterization of a new chimpanzee lentivirus (simian immunodeficiency virus isolate cpz-ant) from a wild-captured chimpanzee.

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Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium.



To assess the prevalence of infection with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) isolate cpz, a lentivirus closely related to HIV-1, in chimpanzees, and to obtain new SIVcpz isolates.


Forty-four wild-captured chimpanzees in Belgium and Côte d'Ivoire were tested for HIV and SIV antibodies. Virus was isolated from the peripheral blood lymphocytes of positive animals and characterized by electron microscopy, Western blot and radioimmunoprecipitation assay.


One animal had antibodies that cross-reacted with HIV-1. A lentivirus was isolated and referred to as SIVcpz-ant. With regard to molecular weight patterns, SIVcpz-ant differs from SIVcpz-gab' an HIV-1-related virus isolated from a wild-captured chimpanzee in Gabon. The major core protein, the transmembrane and outer membrane glycoproteins of the SIVcpz-ant strain consistently had higher molecular weights. Significantly more HIV-1-positive sera reacted with the envelope proteins of the Gabonese SIVcpz-gab strain than with the SIVcpz-ant strain.


This study shows that natural infection of wild-captured chimpanzees with an HIV-related virus may not be uncommon. The diversity of the two chimpanzee isolates, the different geographical origin and the absence of disease suggest that chimpanzees have not recently become SIVcpz-infected.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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