A groundbreaking research published in the scientific journal “Infection, Genetics and Evolution”, led by IHMT’s researcher Ana Abecasis, and co-authored by Anne-Mieke Vandamme, Jorge Varanda, João Dinis Sousa e Andrea-Clemencia Pineda-Peña, places Angola at the epicenter of the early HIV dissemination, together with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Republic of Congo.
Abecasis’ team has conducted phylogeographic analyses and their results pinpoint the origin of the pandemic to Kinshasa (DRC) around 1906 and the introduction of HIV-1 to Angola early between the 1910s and 1940s. Most of the HIV-1 migrations out of Kinshasa were directed not only to Lubumbashi and Mbuji-Mayi (DRC), but also to Luanda and Brazzaville. Kinshasa census records corroborate these findings, indicating that the early exportation of the virus to Angola might be related to the high number of Angolans living in Kinshasa at that time.
Together with IHMT’s researchers, Kristof Theys, from KU Leuven; Inês Bártolo, from iMed.ULisboa; Thomas Leitner, from Los Alamos National Laboratory, USA; and Nuno Taveira, from iMed.ULisboa and CiiEM also joined the team.
The research was funded by the Bio-Molecular and Epidemiological Surveillance of HIV Transmitted Drug Resistance, Hepatitis Co-Infections and Ongoing Transmission Patterns in Europe (BEST HOPE); L’Oréal Portugal; the Portuguese Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia; and the National Endowment for the Humanities Collaborative Research Grant.
To learn more:
- Read here the complete scientific article