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New Subtype of HIV Discovered

  • 08 Nov 2019
  • 2 min read

Why in News

Recently, the researchers have discovered a new subtype of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) called HIV-1 Group M, subtype L. It is the first time a subtype of HIV has been found in almost two decades.

  • There are two types of HIV: HIV-1 and HIV-2. HIV-1 is considered the predominant type, representing the vast majority of infections worldwide, while HIV-2 is far less common and primarily concentrated in the west and central African regions.

Key Points

  • Researchers used a tailored method of the next-generation genome sequencing technology to identify the new subtype.
    • Genome sequencing is the process of determining the complete DNA sequence of an organism's genome. It figures out the order of DNA nucleotides, or bases, in a genome, i.e, the order of Adenine, Cytosine, Guanines, and Thymine that make up an organism's DNA.
    • The technology is helping scientists to stay one step ahead of mutating viruses and avoid a new pandemic.
  • Group M viruses are responsible for the global pandemic- which can be traced back to the Democratic Republic of Congo in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus- Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome

  • HIV is a type of retrovirus. The combination of drugs used to treat it is called Antiretroviral Therapy (ART).
  • HIV attacks CD4-a type of White Blood Cell (T-cells) in the body’s immune system.
  • It is transmitted from person to person through bodily fluids, including blood, semen, vaginal secretions, anal fluids, and breast milk.
  • Statistics in India: The total number of people living with HIV was estimated at 21.40 lakh in 2017. India witnessed over 87,000 new cases in 2017 and saw a decline of 85% compared to 1995.
  • World AIDS Day is observed on 1st December.

Source: IE

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