Why Chimps Can't Get AIDS Opposed to Humans – Virus Example

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"Why Chimps Can't Get AIDS Opposed to Humans? " is a controversial example of a paper on the virus.   Human immune deficiency virus is a virus known to be spreading all over the world which is very critical to many of the precious lives in this world. It is believed that this virus has spread from a genetic mutation in human beings or from the chimpanzees. The virus has different characteristics which prove lethal in human beings. They destroy the immunity in human beings and thus make them more susceptible to other infections and diseases.

This virus is also found in the chimpanzees but it shows different characteristics in the chimpanzees. This virus does not change into AIDS in the chimpanzees while it changes into AIDS in human beings. This is an important difference amongst both these species. This paper would further revolve around the issue of the contracting of AIDS in human beings and not in the chimpanzees. The retrovirus human immuno-deficiency virus is the virus which leads to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). As the name suggests the disease leads to the suppression of the immune system and thus makes the individual more prone to infections neoplasms and neurological disorders.

HIV spreads through the exchange of blood or body fluids which contain the virus or virus-infected cells. It can spread through three major routes which are sexual contact or from the infected mother to the newborn or parenteral inoculation. The blood and the mucosal tissues are the lead to the entry of the HIV in the body and it first targets the T cells of the immune system and dendritic cells in macrophages.

The virus established itself in the lymphoid tissues but it may remain inactive for an in definitive period (National Resource Council, 1997). When the virus starts replicating and becomes active, it starts infecting a greater number of cells and the virus progresses towards AIDS. The major abnormalities in AIDS include lymphopenia, decreased T cell function In Vivo or altered T cell function In Vetro, Polyclonal decell activation, altered monocyte or macrophage functions. The HIV virus spreads in three phases, it has an early phase which is characterized by transient viremia, widespread seeding of lymphoid tissue, decrease in the T cells but this decrease does not last for a very long time, sore throat and meningitis may also develop.

These signs and as well as the T cells return to normal within 6-12 weeks, this phase is crucial because the virus load at the end of this phase is the main determinant which tells us whether the patient will progress towards AIDS more rapidly, the greater the viral load, the sooner AIDS will develop in the patient. Also, a middle phase can be seen in which the viral replication increases to a great extent specified in the lymphoid tissue but there is not much decrease in the T cells.

The patient might develop persistent generalized lymphoid enlargement but no other symptoms are seen. This phase may last from seven to ten years and towards the end of this phase, the patient develops fever rash fatigue and viremia. Then a final stage can also be seen in which is the final progression towards AIDS characterized by extremely low T cell levels weight loss, diarrhea, secondary infections, and neoplasms.

Clinically the patient has aseptic meningitis, vacular myelopathy, peripheral neuropathy and commonly progressive insephalopathy is seen (report, 3291). After the discovery of AIDS, the scientists tried to come up with a cure or vaccine and thus set up many research facilities for this purpose. For the purpose of research, the scientists used chimpanzees and injected them with the HIV virus to find out its effect on chimpanzees. As in human beings, the virus turns into its active state which is known as AIDS, in chimpanzees it is different.

The infection of HIV does not change to AIDS in chimpanzees as found by scientists. Furthermore, even if they show symptoms of AIDS it is seen that it does not act the way it acts in human beings. There is a huge difference between the effect of the virus in human beings and chimpanzees (Sibal, 2001). HIV in human beings makes them immunodeficient that is it suppresses the power of white blood cells taking part in the immunity of the human beings. In this case, the normal level of cells like CD4 and T lymphocytes is not maintained and is thus decreased.

This is critical for the immunity of human beings and thus it is more prone to infections. However, on the other hand, chimpanzees do not show any such symptom and they maintain their normal limit of the white blood cells. HIV is known to be a virus which replicates at very high speed (Pro Anima Committee). However, this speed is not maintained in chimpanzees while it is in human beings. Similarly, as the white blood cells are suppressed by the virus in human beings, they develop cancer and other related diseases but in the case of chimpanzees, they do not.

Moreover, the antibody level in human beings drops to a critical level while in chimpanzees it does not. The HIV virus does not transform into AIDS due to many reasons as it has been found. As the virus cannot replicate itself in the chimpanzees it cannot progress towards AIDS. Thus it can be said that HIV does not harm chimpanzees as much as it harms human beings. Although it has been found that chimpanzees have almost 99 per cent of the genes similar to human beings but even then the chimpanzees are susceptible to some disease while human beings are not and likewise.

AIDS is such a disease which is found in human beings but not in the chimpanzees. It has been found in some recent researches that the chimpanzees have genes which are different from that of the human beings in terms of their splicing up (Fultz et. Al, 1989). When these genes are joined up they produce a different protein than that of the splicing up of the human beings genes.

It is concluded that this splicing up of a different protein in the chimpanzees produces a different behavior and a different form of immunity in chimpanzees and human beings. This splicing up also determines the genetic information in the chimpanzees and human beings. And thus the immune system of both the chimpanzees and the human being differs on a large scale. Further, it was found out that six to eight alternative splicing of genes was different in chimpanzees and humans.

This splicing up of genes can be linked to the adaptation of AIDS in human beings and the resistance of AIDS in the chimpanzees (Johnston, 2000). Conclusion It can be seen that chimpanzees have a line of defence against the powerful and self-replicating HIV virus. This line of defence helps the chimpanzees in not developing AIDS in their body and thus their immunity remains intact. However, in human beings, this virus can progress towards AIDS and destroy their immunity. This is due to the reasons discussed above which are related to its effects and the genetic difference between human beings and the chimpanzees.

The human beings have a different protein made up when their genes are spliced up while in the chimpanzees the protein formed is different.


Johnston MI. The role of nonhuman primate models in AIDS vaccine development. Mol Med Today. 2000 Jul;6(7):267-70.

Americans for Medical Advancement, “AIDS Summary.”

Fultz PN, McClure HM, Swenson RB, Anderson DC. HIV infection of chimpanzees as a model for testing chemotherapeutics. Intervirology 1989;30(suppl1):51-8.

Sibal LR, Samson KJ. Nonhuman primates: a critical role in current disease research. ILAR J. 2001;42(2):74-84.

Pro Anima Committee, “Doctors and Lawyers for Responsible Medicine against the Primate Center at the University of Cambridge.”

Report 3291 of the National Assembly: From mad cow to scape cow; vol 2 (1996).

National Resource Council, Institute for Laboratory Animal Research, “Chimpanzees in Research: strategies for their ethical care, management, and use” 1997, National Academy Press

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