Aggressive New Strain Of HIV Found By Scientists
One step forward, two steps back, it seems in the race against HIV/AIDS.
On the heels of incredible news for World AIDS Day and a promising cancer-related treatment for HIV comes word from Swedish scientists that an aggressive new recombinant form of the virus is being transmitted.
The new strain, known as A3/02, is a recombinant, meaning it is a cross between two previously identified HIV strains. Writing in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, Lund University researchers said that the infection moves from HIV to full-blown AIDS in about five years, nearly two- to two-and-a-half years faster than most previously known strains.
So far the new infection seems confined to West Africa. But experts fear that recombinants are becoming more common and could start to spread globally, especially to highly mobile regions such as Europe and the United States. The researchers said recombinants develop faster than the "parental" strains they spring from, though fortunately, this latest strain seems treatable with existing drugs.
Though worrisome, researchers say the newly-found strain is not the most aggressive form of HIV known to man. "There are some HIV types here in the United States that take as little as two years to develop into AIDS," Phalguni Gupta, a professor of infectious diseases and microbiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Graduate Health, told GMA.