The global health care company, Abbott, has announced that they identified a new subtype of the human immunodeficiency virus, called HIV-1 Group M, subtype L.
The study named “Complete genome sequence of CG-0018a-01 establishes HIV-1 subtype L,” has been published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (JAIDS).
The study unveils the role of next-generation genome sequencing in helping create awareness of mutating viruses to the researchers and public and to avoid further pandemics.
With the next-generation sequencing technology, researchers could narrow in on the virus portion of the sample to fully sequence and complete the genome.
It is for the first time since guidelines for classifying new strains of HIV were established in 2000 that a new subtype of “Group M” HIV virus has been identified, say the researchers. The HIV-1 group M viruses are known to predominate and are responsible for the AIDS pandemic.
According to WHO, since the beginning of the global AIDS pandemic, nearly 75 million people have been infected with HIV and 37.9 million people are currently living with the virus.
As part of this research, scientists from Abbott confirmed that their core and molecular laboratory diagnostic tests can detect this new HIV strain.The authors suggest that researchers need to be cautious for newer strains of virus and to make sure testing and treatments continue to work.
Abbott is making the new strain accessible to the research community to evaluate its impact on diagnostic testing, treatments and potential vaccines, says the company.