Infectious Diseases

New, Aggressive Strain of HIV Identified in Cuba

A paper (1) in the journal EBioMed has discussed the discovery of a new strain of HIV which seems to be especially aggressive and progresses to AIDS from HIV infection within a very short time. This strain, found in Cuba, raises new questions about the chemotherapy for HIV Infection.

HIV is an immunologically complex virus having a number of strains, basics of which include:

Certain types of Circulating Recombinant Types or Forms (CRF) have been noted to be of an aggressive nature, with the time lag between occurrence of HIV infection and onset of full blown AIDS being very short in the absence of antiretroviral therapy. Usually, in these patients, by the time ART is started it is too late and they suffer through all the complications of AIDS.

The next phase that is of interest is to see if this Cuban strain goes global and if it does whether it keeps replicating the same virulence across geographical areas. The concern is that with the emergence of such virulent strains, the fight against HIV/AIDS is unlikely end any time soon and will rage on for the years to come.

References:
Kouri V, Khouri R, Aleman Y, et al. CRF19_cpx is an Evolutionary fitHIV-1 Variant Strongly Associated With Rapid Progression to AIDS in Cuba. EBioMedicine; doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2015.01.015. In press. Available online at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352396415000389. Accessed on May 30, 2015.

Skeptic Oslerphile. Public Health Scientist and Program Manager, Translational Global Health Policy Research Cell, Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. Past: Scientist, Indian Council of Medical Research, National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases; Senior Research Associate, Public Health Foundation of India. Interests include: Emerging Infections, Public Health, Antimicrobial Resistance, One Health and Zoonoses, Diarrheal Diseases, Medical Education, Medical History, Open Access, Healthcare Social Media and Health2.0. Opinions are my own!

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