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AFRO-NETS> Stable Flies May Transmit the HIV Retrovirus

Stable Flies May Transmit the HIV Retrovirus

[The newsdesk of a British journal talks to German researchers and 
reports that stable flies may transmit the HIV retrovirus after feed-
ing on infected blood. In other words it suggests that a natural 
process is at the origin of AIDS: flies would have been the natural 
agent that helped HIV to cross between chimp to human species.]


Cited reference: Cathel Kerr (1 May 2002) Bloodsucking fly blamed for
transmitting HIV. THE LANCET Infectious Diseases, Section Newsdesk, 
Volume 2, Number 5

Christian Labadie, M.S.

Flies may transmit HIV, says respected medical journal
SABC News, June 16, 2002, 07:30

A report in the respected British medical journal, Lancet, has raised 
the possibility that an insect might be able to transmit the Aids 
causing Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), a finding likely to cause 
scientists to re-examine the origin of the current HIV pandemic and 
how HIV got into the human population in the first place.

The journal contains quotes and comments on work by German research-
ers showing that the stable fly (Stomoxys calcitrans) is capable of 
feeding on HIV infected blood and regurgitating the infectious virus. 
The German researchers are from prestigious institutions: the Univer-
sities of Freiburg and Bonn, and the renowned Max Planck Institute 
for Biophysical Chemistry. 

It has been generally held that biting insects are incapable of 
transmitting HIV because they ingest blood from their victims and in-
ject saliva into their victims via different routes, said Andrew 
Jamieson, medical director of Netcare Travel Clinics, in a statement.

However, the stable fly is different as it uses the first part of its 
digestive tract to store ingested blood. Regurgitated material from 
stable flies fed on HIV containing blood has been shown by two of the 
researchers, Brandner and Kloft, to contain intact HIV.

It is known that stable flies can transmit other viruses, including a 
virus which causes a disease of horses, the equine anaemia virus. The 
equine anaemia virus is classified as a retrovirus, as is HIV.

Flies may have transmitted chimp form of HIV to humans 

The findings by the German scientists raise the possibility that sta-
ble flies feeding on blood covered bush meat (a euphemism for chim-
panzee meat) may have transmitted the chimpanzee form of HIV, known 
as SIV or Simian Immunodeficiency Virus, to humans.

Biting a human after feeding on infected bush meat, the stable fly 
may have given the chimpanzee virus the bridge it needed to cross the 
species barrier and infect humans. Jamieson said: "The German theory 
is highly speculative, and it would be premature to blame the stable 
fly for starting the HIV pandemic."

He added that travellers into Africa could take reassurance from the 
fact that mosquitoes are unable to transmit HIV, a question fre-
quently directed to Netcare Travel Clinics. "Even if it transpires 
that the stable fly can cause HIV in humans, the same would not be 
true of mosquitoes." - Sapa

Why some animals appear to be immune to Aids,1009,27461,00.html 

HIV 'rides' into cells via cholesterol rafts in membrane,1009,23900,00.html 

Study finds that spermicide worsens HIV,1009,1747,00.html 

Doctor in Zambia making a fortune with Aids cure,1009,33959,00.html

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