For the first time in 19 years, a team of scientists has discovered a new density of the HIV Virus, which can cause AIDS. The new subtype of deadly virus belongs to Group M of HIV-1 subtype L. The new strains of HIV can mutate over time like other subtypes of HIV. This is the first subtype of Group M HIV to be identified after guidelines for identifying HIV subtypes were established in 2000. As per Abbott Laboratories, it is essential to know what kind of HIV strain is in circulation to ensure the tests used for the diagnosis of the disease are effective. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious, said that the discovery of new HIV strain has provided a complete overview of HIV evolution.
Doctors said that the new strain of HIV is just an outlier and people should not panic about it. Scientists asserted that at least three cases of new HIV subtype must be detected to identify it. The first two cases of new subtype were detected in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1983 and 1990. Both two strains were quite unusual and were different from other HIV subtypes. The third case of the new Group M subtype was found in 2011 in Congo during the study conducted to prevent mother-child transmission of the virus. Researchers found all three cases to be affected by the same strain of the virus but at that time, there was no technology to determine it as the new subtype.
Scientists of Abbott Laboratory and the University of Missouri have studied through for years to recognize the new strain of HIV as subtype L of Group M. However, it is quite uncertain that how this variant of the virus will impact the body. Around 36.7 million people are suffering from life-threatening disease of AIDS across the world as per the statistics of WHO. Almost 1.8 million people have been newly diagnosed with HIV in 2016, reported UNAIDS. The discovery of new subtype L of HIV reminds us that we need to research further into the mutating virus to end the pandemic of HIV.