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HIV: Scientists are discovering the first new strain in nearly two decades

The strain is part of the M-group version of HIV-1, the same family of virus subtypes responsible for the global HIV pandemic, according to Abbott Laboratories, who conducted the study with the University of Missouri, Kansas City. published on Wednesday in the journal on accounting for immune deficiency syndromes.
HIV has several different subtypes or strains and, like other viruses, has the ability to change and mutate over time. It is important to know what strains of the virus are circulating to ensure that the tests used to detect the disease are effective.

"This can be a real challenge for diagnostic tests," Mary Rogers, co-author of the report and chief scientist at Abbott, said. Her company is testing more than 60% of the world's blood supply, she said, and they need to look for new strains and track those in circulation so that "we can find it exactly wherever it is in the world." [1

9659004] Dr. Anthony Foci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said current treatments for HIV are effective against this strain and others. However, identifying a new strain provides a more complete map of the development of HIV.

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There's no reason to panic or even worry a little bit about it, "Fauchi said. "Not many people are infected with this. It's different."

In order for scientists to declare that this is a new subtype, three cases must be discovered independently. The first two were discovered in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1983 and 1990.

The two strains are "very unusual and do not match other strains," Rogers says. The third sample, discovered in the Congo, was collected in 2001 as part of a study aimed at preventing the transmission of the virus from a mother to a child. The sample was small, and although it looked similar to the two older samples, scientists wanted to test the entire genome to be sure. At the time, there was no technology to determine if this was the new subtype.

So scientists at Abbot and the University of Missouri developed new techniques for exploring and mapping the 2001 sample. Rogers said it was "like looking for a needle in hay" and then "pulling the needle with a magnet" [19659010] New York state may end AIDS epidemic by end of 2020, governor says ” data-src-mini=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/160206152814-gov-cuomo-jan-29-small-169.jpg” data-src-xsmall=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/160206152814-gov-cuomo-jan-29-medium-plus-169.jpg” data-src-small=”http://cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/160206152814-gov-cuomo-jan-29-large-169.jpg” data-src-medium=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/160206152814-gov-cuomo-jan-29-exlarge-169.jpg” data-src-large=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/160206152814-gov-cuomo-jan-29-super-169.jpg” data-src-full16x9=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/160206152814-gov-cuomo-jan-29-full-169.jpg” data-src-mini1x1=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/160206152814-gov-cuomo-jan-29-small-11.jpg” data-demand-load=”not-loaded” data-eq-pts=”mini: 0, xsmall: 221, small: 308, medium: 461, large: 781″ src=”data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhEAAJAJEAAAAAAP///////wAAACH5BAEAAAIALAAAAAAQAAkAAAIKlI+py+0Po5yUFQA7″/>

They were able to completely sequence the sample, which means that they were able to create a complete picture what it is and determine that it was in fact a subtype L of group M.

It is not clear how this variant of the virus can affect the body differently if it acts differently at all. Current treatment for HIV can combat a wide variety of viral strains and it is believed that these treatments can combat this newly named one.

"This finding reminds us that in order to end the HIV pandemic, we must continue to think that this is a constantly changing virus and use the latest advances in technology and resources to monitor its evolution," he said in a release co-authored with Dr. Carol MacArthur, professor in the Department of Oral and Craniofacial Sciences at the University of Missouri, Kansas City.

About 36.7 million people worldwide live with HIV, according to the World Health Organization. About 1.8 million people have contracted the disease.

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