On Wednesday, researchers announced that they have discovered a new HIV strain, which causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), for the first time nearly two decades, as reported to CNN.
According to a study published Wednesday in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, the new subtype – dubbed HIV-1 subtype – is the first new HIV strain discovered for the first time since 2000.
Study co-author Dr. Carole McArthur from the University of Missouri, Kansas City, said, “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.”
Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci has cautioned that the official discovery and recognition of the new HIV strain was not a cause of concern.
Dr. Fauci told CNN, “There’s no reason to panic or even to worry about it a little bit. Not a lot of people are infected with this. This is an outlier.”
The researchers explained that guidelines for recognizing new HIV strains require three confirmed cases. Previously, two HIV cases in 1983 and 1990 were identified, which led to the discovery of the HIV-1 subtype L strain. It is currently unclear whether the new HIV subtype affects patients with the disease. However, the researchers believe that the new strain responds well to the current HIV treatments, decreasing the viral load to undetectable levels in the blood.