Technology ID

Human Retrovirus Obtained from Infected Chimpanzee Exposure

Lead Inventor
Switzer, William (CDC)
Heneine, Walid (CDC)
Sandstrom, Paul (CDC)
Folks, Thomas (CDC)
Research Materials
Occupational Safety and Health
Consumer Products
Therapeutic Areas
Infectious Disease
Lead IC
A retrovirus can be any of a group of RNA viruses (i.e., HIV) that insert a DNA copy of their genome into the host cell in order to replicate. Retroviruses can cause persistent and often lifelong infections.

As a result of a voluntary study of nonhuman primate workers in zoos and primate centers, CDC scientists have isolated a retrovirus (spumavirus) from an individual that had a rare occupational exposure to an infected chimpanzee. The isolated virus is genetically and antigenically similar to the strain from the infected chimpanzee but distinct from other human spumaviruses. This discovery has potential in various research and commercial applications. It can be provided as a research tool for screening spumavirus infections or used as a reagent in pathogenicity studies. Being a retrovirus, this discovery can be used as a vector for gene therapy or a recombinant virus vaccine. Finally, sera have been generated against this retrovirus for serological studies of spumaviruses.
Commercial Applications
  • Screening of retrovirus infection in humans
  • Use as a vector for gene therapy
  • Recombinant virus vaccine
  • Public health monitoring and surveillance
  • Research tool for screening spumavirus infections or reagent use in pathogenicity studies
Competitive Advantages
  • Closer genetic sequence to humans may make this retrovirus a superior candidate as a spumavirus gene therapy vector
Licensing Contact:
Mitzelfelt, Jeremiah