Nov. 08 2019 — Abbott announced today that a team of its scientistsidentified a new subtype of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), called HIV-1 Group M, subtype L.1The findings, published today in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (JAIDS),show the role next-generation genomesequencing is playing in helping researchers stay one step ahead of mutating viruses and avoiding new pandemics.
Since the beginning of the global AIDSpandemic, 75 million people have been infected with HIV and 37.9 million people today are living with the virus.2Thanksto 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.
“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.”
This researchmarks the first time a new subtype of “Group M” HIV virus has been identified since guidelines for classifying new strains of HIV were established in 2000. 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.3,4