Researchers identify new strain of HIV

A technician extracts blood from a patient for an HIV test

For a variant to be considered as a new strain, there must be at least three independent cases reported.

"It's actually misleading to describe genetic diversity from the [Democratic Republic of] Congo as a new subtype because the only useful meaning of the term "subtype" would come from identification of a lineage of the virus that has spread significantly beyond Central Africa," he said. As part of this research, Abbott scientists confirmed that its core and molecular laboratory diagnostic tests can detect this new HIV strain.

The third, collected in 2001, was hard to sequence at the time because of the amount of virus in the sample and the existing technology. Nevertheless, determining a new strain offers a far more complete map of how HIV evolves."There is no motive to stress or even to worry about it a minimal little bit", Fauci mentioned. The findings have been published Wednesday in the Journal of Obtained Immune Deficiency Syndromes.

Almost after half a century after HIV killed its first victim, another sub-type of it is now found by research published on 6 November in Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes journal.

"In an increasingly connected world, we can no longer think of viruses being contained to one location", said Carole McArthur, professor in the departments of oral and craniofacial sciences, University of Missouri Kansas City, and one of the study authors in a press statement.

Researchers and epidemiologists said they did not expect the new strain to change the way HIV was diagnosed or treated and that the existing tests and antiretroviral drugs, which suppress the growth of HIV, were created to target the parts of the virus common to all groups.

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Latest genome sequencing technology allows researchers to build an entire genome at higher speeds and lower costs. It is important to know what strains of the virus are circulating to ensure that assessments used to detect the condition are efficient."It can be a genuine problem for diagnostic checks", Mary Rodgers, a co-writer of the report and a principal scientist at Abbott, said.

HIV has several different subtypes or strains, and like other viruses, it has the ability to change and mutate over time. "This scientific discovery can help us ensure we are stopping new pandemics in their tracks", the note said.

The new Group M strain will not change the way HIV is diagnosed or treated, and simply means that people are tested for the new strain as well.

"By advancing our techniques and using next generation sequencing technology, we are pulling the needle out with a magnet".

About 36.7 million in the world are living with HIV, according to World Health Organization.

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