New Variant of HIV
Researchers from The University of Oxford announced on 3rd February the discovery of a new, highly virulent strain of HIV that has been circulating in the Netherlands for decades. The analysis is published in the journal ‘Science.’
The study shows that patients infected with the ‘VB variant’ had 3.5 to 5.5 times higher levels of virus in their blood. However, after starting treatment, patients with the VB variant had a similar immune recovery and survival as any other patient.
The analysis does not show how the virus has originated, but the researchers believe that it was likely evolved with the patient who suffered HIV infection for an unusually long period.
“The worst-case scenario would be the emergence of a variant that combines high virulence, high transmissibility, and resistance to treatment. The variant we discovered has only the first two of these properties,” said Chris Wymant, the study’s lead author.