New variant of HIV: Study finds that it is more contagious and aggressive

Las personas con la nueva variante tienen una carga viral de 3.5 a 5.5 veces mayor que la registrada en otros tipos de VIH.

People with the new variant have a viral load that is 3.5 to 5.5 times higher than that seen in other types of HIV.

Photo: Chris Hondros/Getty Images

In the midst of the COVID pandemic that the world is experiencing, Scientists at the University of Oxford have now discovered the existence of a variant of HIV, which is more transmissible and harmful.

According to information released by the United Nations (UN), people living with the new subtype experience twice the immune system impairment and have higher viral loads.

In addition, the forecast of this variant, called BV, is that people who acquire it are vulnerable to developing AIDS between two and three times faster after diagnosis, than if they lived with other strains of the virus.

According to the study published in the journal Science, the variant has been circulating in the Netherlands for years and remains responsive to treatment.

The study, led by researchers at the Oxford University Big Data Institute, is the first to reveal this subtype B of the virus.

Despite the fateful news, also new variant of HIV found to respond to existing screening tests and treatments with a similar survival rate.

“The worst case scenario would be the appearance of a variant that combines high virulence, high transmissibility and resistance to treatment. The variant we discovered has only the first two of these features,” says Chrys Wymant, a lead researcher at the University of Oxford, who emphasizes that “no one should be alarmed” by the news.

According to the UNAIDS position, the finding of this new variant highlights the urgent need to “contain the pandemic and reach all people through testing and treatment“.

The protracted HIV pandemic continues to claim a life every minute, and scientists have long been concerned about the evolution of new, more infectious variants of the virus.

In other words, although the new variant identified does not represent a major threat to public health, it shows that it is essential to accelerate the United Nations campaign to eradicate AIDS.

According to statistics presented by the Deputy Executive Director of the Program, Eamonn Murphy, around 10,000,000 people living with HIV are still not receiving antiretroviral therapywhich “fuels the continued spread of the virus and the possibility of new variants appearing.”

“We urgently need cutting-edge medical innovations to reach communities most in need. Whether it’s HIV treatment or COVID vaccination, inequalities in access to vaccines perpetuate pandemics in a way that harms us all,” he stated.

Since it was first discovered in the early 1980s, it is estimated that 79,000,000 people have been infected with the virusfor which more than thirty years after its appearance, there is still no vaccine or cure.

Some 36,000,000 people have died from AIDS-related illnesses since the start of the pandemic and 1,500,000 people were infected in 2020.

Of the 38,000,000 people living with the virus today, 28,000,000 receive antiretroviral treatment that keeps them healthy and alive, as well as preventing its transmission.

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