New Type of HIV Hits the World.

For the first time in 19 years, a new subtype of HIV has been discovered, introducing new dynamics into one of the world's most popular diseases.

At a time when the global HIV/AIDS outbreak is getting other control, existing balance could be disrupted while current may restructured thus complicating the journey towards HIV/AIDS eradication with the emergence of a new type of the human immunodeficiency virus ( HIV) which is responsible for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

A group of scientists today announced they have identified a new subtype of HIV, called HIV-1 Group M, subtype L.1 They published their findings in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (JAIDS).

The guidelines for classifying new strains of HIV were established in 2000 and this is the first time a new subtype of "Group M" HIV virus has been identified. Group M viruses are responsible for the global pandemic, which can be traced back to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in Sub-Saharan Africa.

"In an increasingly connected world, we can no longer think of viruses being contained to one location," said Carole McArthur, Ph.D., M.D., professor in the departments of oral and craniofacial sciences, University of Missouri — Kansas City, and one of the study authors. "This discovery reminds us that to end the HIV pandemic, we must continue to outthink this continuously changing virus and use the latest advancements in technology and resources to monitor its evolution."
Since the beginning of the global AIDS pandemic, 75 million people have been infected with HIV and 37.9 million people today are living with the virus.

Historically, the number of AIDS-related deaths rose in the 1990s and reached a peak in 2005 when 1.95 million people died. From 2007, the annual number of deaths from AIDS declined as well and almost halved within a decade.
By 2017, the number of deaths has fallen to less than 1 million annual deaths. But there is a continuing increase in the number of people living with HIV although the rate of increase has slowed down compared to the 1990s but the absolute number is growing steadily globally.
But thanks to the work done by the global health community over the past few decades, the goal of ending the HIV pandemic is becoming feasible. Yet researchers must remain vigilant to monitor for new strains to make sure testing and treatments continue to work.
To determine whether an unusual virus is in fact a new HIV subtype, three cases must be discovered independently. The first two samples of the newly identified subtype were discovered in DRC in the 1980s and the 1990s. The third, collected in 2001, was difficult to sequence at that time because of the amount of virus in the sample and the existing technology.
"Today, next-generation sequencing technology allows researchers to build an entire genome at higher speeds and lower costs. In order to utilize this technology, Abbott scientists had to develop and apply new techniques to help narrow in on the virus portion of the sample to fully sequence and complete the genome," said health tech giant Abbott in a statement.
"Identifying new viruses such as this one is like searching for a needle in a haystack," said Mary Rodgers, Ph.D., a principal scientist and head of the Global Viral Surveillance Program, Diagnostics, Abbott, and one of the study authors. "By advancing our techniques and using next generation sequencing technology, we are pulling the needle out with a magnet. This scientific discovery can help us ensure we are stopping new pandemics in their tracks."

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