New HIV Strain Discovered to Develop AIDS within Five Years Which Further Delays Functional Cure

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By Ryan Inoyori | December 4, 2013 2:40 PM EST

Functional cure or vaccine against HIV isn't yet available. At the same time another HIV strain has been found and this strain may develop AIDS faster than other known HIV strains in history. It is more dynamic, vigorous and aggressive HIV type to date.

New Strain of HIV

One of the most feared reality just happened as HIV gained a new strain which develop AIDS faster than other strains in history. According to the new study of the Journal of Infectious Diseases, the new strain is HIV-1 recombinant A3/02 which is a fusion of the 02AG and A3 strains of HIV.

Unlike with other HIV strains known by medical experts, this new strain has a shorter period of time from HIV infection to AIDS development within just five years. HIV-1 and other common strains may take more than five years and usually delayed by antiretroviral drug therapy.

Affected Areas

HIV-1 A3/02 recombinant strain is common in Guinea-Bissau in West Africa and the fusion may have been caused by more than 60 HIV-1 strains combining together, thus leading to a more aggressive strain.

New findings of the new HIV strain are based on data from 152 people in Guinea-Bissau with HIV-1 who were monitored as they develop AIDS and died from AIDS-related complications. Around 13 per cent of the people in the new study have been identified to carry A3/02 HIV strain.

"HIV is an extremely dynamic and variable virus. New subtypes and recombinant forms of HIV-1 have been introduced to our part of the world and it is highly likely that there are a large number of circulating recombinants of which we know little or nothing," researcher Patrik Medstrand stated at Lund University, quoted by Huffington Post.

"Recombinants seem to be more vigorous and more aggressive than the strains which they developed," explanation of Angelica Palm at Lund University.

Can ART Delay New HIV Strain?

HIV superinfection is possible to happen on a person which caused by acquiring another strain of the virus. Since the new strain of HIV is a recombinant, having two HIV-1 strains inside the body may lead to more aggressive and more rapid disease progression.

Moreover, HIV superinfection is difficult to treat as two strains are usually resistant against drugs. Normally, a patient with one HIV strain takes at least three antiretroviral drugs to delay progress but if the infected person has two strains, having up to five drugs may lead to death due to severe drug side effects.

Since the new strain of HIV is recent, medical science will attempt to create something to control the infection and prevent it to reach other territories to avoid another global pandemic of something they cannot even treat.

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