• Sweden edition
 
Swedes warn of new aggressive HIV strain
A South African patient is tested for HIV. File photo: AP/TT

Swedes warn of new aggressive HIV strain

Published: 29 Nov 2013 07:29 GMT+01:00
Updated: 29 Nov 2013 07:29 GMT+01:00

The researchers at Lund University in southern Sweden used data spanning two decades on patients with HIV in Guinnea Bissau, where the researchers found the new variant. It was deemed likely that it had emerged in a few individuals who were infected with two separate HIV variants, which then mixed or recombined to a new variant that was more aggressive.

"It's like a mother and a father and their new child - the child can have some mixed properties of the parents," clinical virology professor Patrik Medstrand told The Local. "We were surprised that disease progression among individuals infected with the recombinant variant was so much faster."

The new recombinant variant has then likely spread from person to person, Medstrand explained. Around 13 percent of HIV patients in Guinea Bissau now carry the new virus has been named A3/02. The new strain was first discovered in 2011, but researchers do not yet know exactly when the variant emerged. 

At the beginning of the HIV/Aids pandemic, most infected Swede had subtype B HIV. But as Swedes began travelling, and more and more people moved to Sweden, the picture has changed and now only about half of HIV-infected individuals in Sweden carry subtype B. The rest of the cases involve other HIV variants. Globally, there are more than 60 different strains of what are known as HIV-1 viruses.

"We think this (finding) is also important for the US and Europe, and for Sweden," Medstrand cautioned. "It's a wake up call that the HIV epidemic is changing and there might be new variants emerging."

The finding was recently presented in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, 

"In countries and regions with high levels of immigration, such as the US and Europe, the trend is towards an increasingly mixed and complex HIV flora," a statement summarizing the findings said. 

The global spread of different HIV variants is increasing, making it possible for novel recombinants to emerge, Medstrand explained. The scientists said that the situation today was very different to when the virus was first detected, when there were different strains but not in the same place.  

"When two subtypes get into the same geographic region there is this likelihood that an individual can be infected with more than one subtype," Medstrand explained. "Then a new recombinant variant might emerge."

As the new variant has cut the time of developing Aids in half, Medstrand said public health experts and epidemiologists need to look into the emergence of new variants. On the ground, the new finding could suggest it is time to look how common recombinant variants are on a global scale, as some may be more aggressive than the variants known of today. 
 
"This is a message  about how important the infecting variant can be to the individual," Medstrand told The Local. 

The study did include one heartening fact  - treatment available at present to keep the development of Aids at bay also work on this new recombinant variant. 
 
"So that's very good news," Medstrand said. . 

He referred to public health experts the question of whether public information campaigns were the way forward.

"Information is always good, if spread in the right way," he said. "It is still not a curable disease. If infected you have to be treated for the rest of your life, it is very costly for society."
 
The World Health Organization estimates around 35.3 million people are living with HIV globally. The virus, which destroys the immune system, has caused more than 25 million deaths since Aids first emerged in the early 1980s.

Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Sweden resumes aid to 'anti-gay Uganda'
Hillevi Engström and protesters against Uganda's anti-gay laws. Photos: Maja Suslin/Ben Curtis/TT

Sweden resumes aid to 'anti-gay Uganda'

Sweden has resumed sending development aid funds to Uganda, after suspending payouts back in March due to "anti-gay legislation". READ  

The Local List
Top ten coffee spots in central Stockholm
Fanny feels at home at the Blå Lotus. Photo: Isabela Vrba

Top ten coffee spots in central Stockholm

If you're wondering where to grab your next cappucino, then wonder no more. The Local talked to the locals in Stockholm and found out the best spots in town for the ultimate fika experience. READ  

Swedish neo-Nazis join fight in Ukraine
The Azov task force. Photo: Sergei Chuzavkov/TT

Swedish neo-Nazis join fight in Ukraine

Four Swedes are fighting with the Ukrainian task force Azov - a squad which flies a flag with Nazi symbols and, according to one Swedish soldier, fights for "a white Ukraine". READ  

Swedish elk get one-way ticket to Denmark
The elk in this picture are not the ones that will be sent to Denmark. Photo: The Uppsala Koala

Swedish elk get one-way ticket to Denmark

Up to a dozen elk will be transported from Sweden to Denmark in an effort to help maintain local marshlands. READ  

Sweden worst in EU at getting foreigners jobs
Photo: Henrik Trygg/Imagebank Sweden

Sweden worst in EU at getting foreigners jobs

UPDATED: Swedish citizens are the most likely to be employed in the EU, but Sweden is among the very worst when it comes to getting non-EU citizens into work. READ  

Man arrested for burning partner's face
Photo: Linn Malmén/TT

Man arrested for burning partner's face

Police suspect that a man in western Sweden is responsible for the extreme burns on his partner's face. The man has been arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault - and potentially attempted murder. READ  

In Pictures: Conchita Wurst in Stockholm
Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

In Pictures: Conchita Wurst in Stockholm

Eurovision winner and LGBTQ idol Conchita Wurst is in Stockholm this week for Stockholm Pride - and joined Swedes at Skansen for a colourful summer sing-along. READ  

Stockholm holds colour contest for new metro
Photo: Joel Bagon

Stockholm holds colour contest for new metro

Stockholm's new metro line is not set for preliminary construction until 2016, and will not be completed until 2022 - but Swedes already have the chance to vote for the new line's colour. READ  

Sweden's heat wave officially over
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Sweden's heat wave officially over

The heat wave that swept over Sweden recently has finally passed, meteorologists reported on Wednesday, promising cooler and more autumnal temperatures around the corner. READ  

Ukraine rebels release kidnapped Swede
Rebel tanks on the road to Horlivka in June. Photo: TT

Ukraine rebels release kidnapped Swede

The Swede who was kidnapped by pro-Russian rebels has been released after nearly three weeks of being held hostage - although no one knows where he is now. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
Stockholm Pride kicks off
Analysis
The top six ways the US and Sweden differ
National
Swedish youth suicides hit 25-year high
National
Politician reported for selling 'negro ball'
National
Police turn blind eye to Swedish 'slave trade'
Blog updates

27 July

Approaching Stockholm (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I woke up in the comfort of my own little cabin on Eva and Rolf’s boat, it was 7:30am and I was feeling a bit groggy after a couple of beers with all the lovely locals the night before. The previous day had really taken its toll on my body and I was very stiff and..." READ »

 

24 July

Sharing our Pride: Celebrating Love & the LGBT Community! (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"It’s mid- July in Stockholm, and with much of the city on vacation, things can seem a little quiet – the streets, the bus, and the grocery store. One thing that has not paused for a summer break, though, is preparation for Stockholm’s Pride Festival, which will take place from July 28 to August 2...." READ »

 
 
 
Gallery
Stockholm Pride: Allsång på Skansen with Conchita Wurst
Skatteverket
Sponsored Article
Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching, June 26th - 28th. Get inside Stockholm's hottest nightclubs
Gallery
Top ten Swedish taboos
Society
Seven-year-old Swede cycles to Berlin
Politics
'Gaza conflict needs help, not empty rhetoric'
Society
Swedes voted 'most beautiful' in the Nordics
Business & Money
Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax
National
Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
Society
What's On in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching July 23
National
Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'
Business & Money
New alcohol retail rules threaten micro-breweries
Gallery
People-watching Båstad
Business & Money
Sweden falls to third in global innovation index
Society
Swedish ornithologists keep webcam watch
Photo: Andreas Nordström/Image Bank Sweden
Gallery
Top ten Swedish beach hot spots
Tech
Swedish Wiki vet sets new content record
Photo: Fastighetsbyrån
Lifestyle
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

745
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se