New strains of HIV-1 rapidly evolving in India

Scientists at the HIV-AIDS laboratory in Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) have found that the Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type I (HIV-1) has been undergoing a process of evolution in India over the past decade and possibly in other parts of the world.

  • The study — with 165 samples — conducted from 2010 to 2011 by a group of scientists led by Professor Ranga Uday Kumar of the Molecular Biology and Genetics Unit of the centre has been published in the November 7th issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
  • Scientists found the emergence and expansion of three to five new strains of HIV-1 rapidly replacing the standard viral strain.
  • The new viral strains appear to contain a stronger viral promoter. In the laboratory experiments, the new HIV strains make more daughter viruses [multiplied] as compared to the standard viral strains.
  • A similar process of viral evolution has also been observed in other countries such as South Africa, China and southern Brazil. All these countries have the same family of HIV-1 as India.
  • People infected with the new HIV strains seem to contain more of the virus in their blood.



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