US scientists identify new HIV strain, first in nearly 20 years

Experts say however there’s no reason to panic.
 By Nico Lang November 07 2019 10:57 AM EST

Experts say however there’s no reason to panic. By Nico Lang November 07 2019 10:57 AM EST

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

When it comes to HIV-1, there are four different groups: Group M, Group N, Group O, and Group P. Group M is responsible for the majority of the global HIV epidemic, but within Group M there are at least nine genetically distinct subtypes of HIV-1.

But that shouldn't be concerning to that average patient, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the news outlet.

"There's no reason to panic or even to worry about it a little bit", Fauci told CNN. Not many people are infected with this. "This is an outlier". Her laboratory has analyzed more than 60% of the global blood supply. 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. Rodgers explained that these two cases were unusual and "didn't match other strains".

Specimen CG-0018a-01, which has been sequenced to reveal that it is a hitherto unknown subtype of HIV, was collected in 2001 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as part of an HIV prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) study. According to the guidelines in 2020, to classify this new subtype, three cases must be discovered independently. "So we've literally created technology that acts like a magnet to pull out that needle in the haystack and sequence just the virus".

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

Technological improvements over the last few years have provided researchers with the ability to get entire genomes faster and from smaller samples. She is now funded for characterisation of rare variants of HIV in the Congo Basin and has developed a research lab in Cameroon focusing on HIV drug resistance.

Forms of this new strain of the HIV might be circulating, both in the DRC and elsewhere, but are unclassified as of now. "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", according to Carole McArthur, professor, oral and craniofacial sciences departments, University of Missouri, Kansas City, and one of the study authors. She added, "We definitely don't work in isolation". Other candidate vaccines are in trials under evaluation. "We can never become complacent, we need to be proactive and we're working to stay a step ahead of the virus". Moreover, like much reporting on medical research, there is important contextual information one needs to understand the significance of this news.

Notícias recomendadas

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.