For the first time in 19 years, a team of scientists from Abbott Laboratories (USA) have discovered a new strain of the HIV virus that weakens the immune system in humans.
Prior to the announcement, HIV had two strains, HIV-1 and HIV-2 , of which HIV-1 was highly transmissible globally. According to Abbott Laboratories, the new strain is part of the Group M version of HIV-1.
CNN said the scientists at Abbott had a research collaboration with the University of Missouri, Kansas City. The team's results are published November 6 in the journal Immune Deficiency Syndrome.
Blood test to detect HIV virus - (Image: AFP / GETTY IMAGES)
HIV has a number of different strains and like other viruses, HIV has the ability to change and change over time. It is important to know which strains of HIV are circulating to ensure that tests, used to detect the disease, are effective.
Abbott has tested more than 60% of the world's blood supply to look for new strains as well as track old strains for the most accurate detection of a virus, no matter where it came from. of the world.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Infectious and Allergy Diseases, reassured that current HIV treatments are effective for this new strain and others.
But according to Fauci, the discovery of a new strain of HIV is important and will help researchers better understand the evolution of the virus.
"There is nothing to worry about or fear about. There are not many people infected with this strain," Fauci added.
CNN said that in order for scientists to declare a new strain, they need to find three cases of the virus independently. The first two cases of this new strain were detected in Congo in 1983 and 1990. The third case was discovered in Congo in 2001.
Scientists want to test the entire virus genome to make sure this is a new strain. At the time of 2001 they did not have the technology to identify this problem. So the team of scientists at Abbott and the University of Missouri has developed new techniques to study the virus samples collected since 2001.
According to the World Health Organization, there are about 36.7 million people worldwide living with HIV.