New strain of HIV found for first time since 2000

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Researchers declared Wednesday that they had found another strain of HIV, the infection that causes AIDS, without precedent for almost 20 years.

A study distributed in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes and first detailed by CNN found that the new subtype, named HIV-1 subtype L, is the main new strain of the infection to be distinguished since 2000.

“This discovery reminds us that to end the HIV pandemic, we must continue to out think this continuously-changing virus and use the latest advancements in technology and resources to monitor its evolution,” study co-creator Dr. Carole McArthur with the University of Missouri, Kansas City told CNN.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, executive of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, forewarned that the official acknowledgment of the new strain was not a reason to worry.

“There’s no reason to panic or even to worry about it a little bit,” he told CNN. “Not a lot of people are infected with this. This is an outlier.”

Rules for identifying new strains of the HIV infection require three cases to be identified: two past instances of HIV, in 1983 and 1990, have now been distinguished as coming about because of the HIV-1 subtype L strain.

It’s not at present known whether the new subtype influences patients with the sickness any in an unexpected way, and it is felt that the strain reacts to existing HIV treatments that can drive the infection to undetectable levels in the body.

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