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
HIV 'rides' into cells via cholesterol rafts in membrane
Study finds that spermicide worsens HIV
Doctor in Zambia making a fortune with Aids cure
To send a message to AFRO-NETS, write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
To subscribe or unsubscribe, write to: email@example.com
in the body of the message type: subscribe afro-nets OR unsubscribe afro-nets
To contact a person, send a message to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Information and archives: http://www.afronets.org