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AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 1996 Oct 10;12(15):1473-83.

No evidence of antibody to human foamy virus in widespread human populations.

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Department of Genito-Urinary Medicine, and Communicable Diseases, Jefferiss Research Trust Laboratories, Imperial College School of Medicine at St. Mary's London, UK.


The first human foamy virus (HFV) to be described was isolated from nasopharyngeal carcinoma tissue from a Kenyan patient. Early seroepidemiology concluded that there was a significant infection rate, particularly among Africans. Awareness of foamy viruses as potential vectors has stimulated interest in the natural seroprevalence of HFV infection. We, therefore, investigated the prevalence of HFV infection in more than 5000 human sera collected from diverse populations. To maximize the chances of including the major antigenic epitopes, recombinant proteins derived from the HFV gag and env genes divided into three (the 5' amino terminal, the 3' carboxy terminal, and an internal overlapping region) were used as antigens in an ELISA. In contrast to most other seroepidemiological investigations of HFV infection, highly reactive sera identified by ELISA were subjected to further analysis by additional serological assays and, where PBMCs were available, PCR. None of the serum samples were confirmed as positive. It is worth noting that with our ELISA, the highest level of serum reactivity to HFV was found in subjects from Pacific islands (17%), and in Central Africa (34% in Malawi), areas previously cited as having a high level of HFV infection. Taken together with sequence analysis endorsing the phylogenetic closeness of HFV to SFV-6/7, these data strongly suggest that HFV is not naturally found in the human population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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