New Strain of HIV Discovered

08 Novembre, 2019, 04:36 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • For the first time in 19 years a team of scientists has detected a new strain of HIV

New strain of HIV detected for 1st time in nearly 20 years United States researchers have identified the first new strain of HIV since the year 2000, further expanding our knowledge of the extraordinarily complex virus.

Since the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was first discovered in the United States almost four decades ago, several strains have been identified - allowing doctors to better tailor diagnostic testing and drug treatments. When HIV multiplies in the human body, it cripples the immune system, leading to life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers.

A senior faculty member at AIIMS, New Delhi, who did not want to be named said that sequencing of this strain is a significant development in understanding, prevention and treatment of HIV because it is part of what has caused the most infections in humans. Subtype identification guidelines were established in 2000 said the researchers. The B strain in the HIV-1 group M is the most common in the United States.

According to estimates, 37.9 million people across the world are now living with HIV, while 1.7 million individuals contracted the virus a year ago.

"There's no reason to panic or even to worry about it a little bit", Fauci said.

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Since the discovery of HIV in 1983, over 75 million people have been infected with HIV and over 37 million persons are living with the virus today. "This is an outlier".

"Since subtype L is part of the major group of HIV, Group M, I would expect current treatments to work with it", Mary Rodgers, a principal scientist and head of the Global Viral Surveillance Program at Abbott told AFP. She explained that the labs need to test blood samples across the world and Abbott alone tests around 60 percent of the world's blood supply. Yes, technically a new strain has been identified, only because there is finally the technology available to identify it. To confirm the existence of a new strain, it's necessary to have three independent samples. The third, collected in 2001, was hard to sequence at that time because of the amount of virus in the sample and the existing technology.

"The subtype has been around as long as all the other strains have". "So we've literally created technology that acts like a magnet to pull out that needle in the haystack and sequence just the virus". This finally allowed this team, mostly from health care company Abbott Laboratories, a way to test if the 2001 sample was truly evidence of a new strain.

Researchers spent years developing new techniques to trace the sample. There is no reason to believe this subtype is more risky or virulent than any other strain of HIV. The two main types of HIV are HIV-1 and HIV-2.

"This discovery reminds us that to end the HIV pandemic, we must continue to out think this continuously changing virus and use the latest advancements in technology and resources to monitor its evolution", study co-author Dr. Carole McArthur told CNN.

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