Scientists discover more deadly HIV virus

A new variant of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has been discovered in the Netherlands that, compared to other versions of the virus, appears to cause Disease progresses faster.

HIV infects and destroys immune cells in the body called CD4 cells, causing a reduction in the number of these cells, the report said. If left untreated, the infection can progress to AIDS. In people infected with this newly discovered HIV variant — the “VB variant” — CD4 cell counts declined about twice as fast as those with other B subtypes.

Without treatment, on average, a VB variant infection may progress to AIDS within two to three years of initial HIV diagnosis, researchers report Feb. 3 in the journal Science. Other versions of the virus, on average, did not experience a similar degree of exacerbation until about six to seven years after diagnosis.

“We found that, on average, people infected with this variant, if they did not start treatment, And if HIV infection is diagnosed in the 30s, the infection is expected to progress from diagnosis to ‘advanced HIV’ within nine months.” The disease progresses faster in older adults, he said.

Fortunately, the team found that antiretroviral drugs worked just as well on the VB variant as they did on other versions of the virus. “In individuals who are successfully treated, deterioration of the immune system is suppressed and transmission of the virus to others is avoided,” Wymant said.

“The study authors used this case study to underscore the importance of universal access to treatment,” said Katie Atkins, a researcher at the University of Edinburgh School of Medicine and associate professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who was not involved in the study. “Not only because we want to directly reduce the number of people dying from AIDS unnecessarily, but also because it reduces the likelihood of new, more deadly variants emerging,” he told this website in an email.

Wymant and the study’s senior author, infectious disease epidemiologist Christopher Fraser, are key members of the BEEHIVE research program, which aims to better understand the biology, development and epidemiology of HIV . “The BEEHIVE project started in 2014 to understand how changes in this virus lead to differences in disease,” said Wymant. “The project brought together data from seven countries in Europe, as well as Uganda.”

In analyzing data from the ongoing study, the team found 17 people infected with “significantly different” HIV variants, all of whom were in the early stages of infection — between six months and two years after diagnosis, the report said. In between – the blood is carrying very high concentrations of the virus. Fifteen of them were from the Netherlands, one from Switzerland and one from Belgium.

The research team found that this newly discovered variant belongs to the B subtype. To see if they could find more examples of this variant in the Netherlands, the researchers screened data from the Netherlands AIDS Treatment Assessment (ATHENA).

Of these, more than 8,000 of whom had viral genetic sequence data available, about 6,700 of whom were reported to be infected with subtype B. In this group of people, the researchers found 92 people infected with the VB variant, bringing the total number of people infected with this variant to 109.

Based on available clinical data, these 109 people had a viral load that was 3.5 to 5.5 times higher than those infected with other B subtypes. At diagnosis, people infected with the VB variant already had lower CD4 cell counts than those infected with the other strains. As a result, their CD4 counts start out lower and decline more rapidly than other people newly diagnosed with HIV

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