(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists from Oxford University have been studying HIV mutations and have established a completely new strain of the virus in the Netherlands, called VB.
Its peculiarity is that it is much more dangerous than those strains that were previously recorded.
Studies have shown that a new type of HIV causes a higher viral load. The indicator is 3.5-5.5 times higher than the standard when compared with the most common subtype B.
In addition, the new variant leads to the death of cells of the immune system much faster, which, accordingly, destroys the immune system itself at a higher rate. The end result is that the infected person develops AIDS very quickly.
During the study of HIV mutations in the Netherlands, a new strain was recorded in 92 people. Chris Wightman from Oxford University said that the last stage in carriers of the VB strain occurs literally after 9 months, and not after 36, like in most other variants of the virus.
Further research has shown that this strain is not entirely new. It appeared in the 90s of the last century, and its peak was in 2008, if we talk directly about the Netherlands.
Scientists note that, despite the long-term circulation of the virus, it does not particularly affect the spread of the disease itself. At the same time, it was possible to establish that even after several decades, the virus does not become less dangerous.
When a person becomes infected with HIV, at the very beginning, the viral load becomes the cause of the development of a chronic disease. It may continue for many years.
The initial stage is called the established viral load. The higher its rate, the faster AIDS begins to develop. At the same time, the chances that the virus will become less dangerous are completely absent.
Wightman notes that it is best to deal with the prevention of the disease than in the future long-term treatment. Most likely, the rapid spread of the VB strain in the Netherlands was slowed down due to the introduction of very strict infection control measures.
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