About two-thirds of people are infected with one of two herpes simplex viruses, oral (HSV-1) or genital (HSV-2). New research says both viruses have been infecting humans and our ancestors for longer than previously thought. HSV-1 has been infecting hominids since before they split from the chimpanzee lineage six million years ago, a new study says. HSV-2 was introduced more recently, the researchers said, making the jump from chimpanzees to human ancestors about 1.6 million years ago.
“If you think of humans as Homo sapiens proper, then both viruses have been with us since before we were human,” said Joel O. Wertheim, a virologist at the University of California, San Diego, and lead author of the study.
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