Although the development of an HIV vaccine may eventually provide a means of controlling AIDS in developed countries, more immediate and less sophisticated methods are going to have to be developed for use in the rural regions of Africa where AIDS may already have reached epidemic proportions. Evidence from several studies of wild primates suggests that plant secondary compounds may commonly act as control agents for a variety of different pathogens. Although studies of laboratory populations of green monkeys indicate that their resistance to AIDS is likely to be genetic, we argue that it may be worth screening some of the plants eaten by African primates in the hope of coming up with compounds that exhibit suitable anti-viral activity. Any compounds isolated in this way are likely to be much cheaper to manufacture than laboratory-produced drugs and may also have been already screened for unpleasant side-effects.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics