• 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
Suspected Ebola case ruled out in Sweden
Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Suspected Ebola case ruled out in Sweden

UPDATED: Officials at a Stockholm hospital reported that they had found a suspected case of the Ebola virus on Sunday night. But the case was dismissed on Monday. READ  

Murderer on the loose after breakout

Murderer on the loose after breakout

A 34-year-old man who killed a child is on the run after he broke out of a psychiatric ward in central Sweden. READ  

Skåne floods
Huge clear up underway after Skåne floods
A Malmö bus under water. Photo: Stig Åke Jönsson/TT

Huge clear up underway after Skåne floods

Flood waters subsided in the southern Sweden region of Skåne on Monday, after flash flooding saw chaos on roads and trains at the weekend. READ  

Elections 2014
Sweden's Alliance reveals full manifesto
Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden's Alliance reveals full manifesto

UPDATED: Leaders of the Moderate Party, the Centre Party, the Liberal Party and the Christian Democrats have announced their complete list of election promises in Stockholm's Nacka. READ  

Man shot dead in hunting accident
Photo: Hunter Desportes/Flickr

Man shot dead in hunting accident

Police in northern Sweden say a man was killed on Monday morning after what they described as a "hunting accident". READ  

Zlatan scores hat trick in PSG thrashing
Photo: AP

Zlatan scores hat trick in PSG thrashing

Champions Paris Saint-Germain thumped Saint-Etienne 5-0 as Bordeaux saw their 100 percent record at the start of the Ligue 1 season ended on Sunday with a 1-1 draw against Bastia. READ  

Flash floods cause chaos in southern Sweden
A car in Malmö on Sunday. Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson/TT

Flash floods cause chaos in southern Sweden

The Skåne region of southern Sweden was hit suddenly by extreme rains on Sunday morning, with houses flooded, buses evacuated, and people having to swim to safety from their cars. READ  

Fit-again Ibrahimovic set for PSG return
Photo: TT

Fit-again Ibrahimovic set for PSG return

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is set to make his comeback for Paris Saint-Germain against Saint-Etienne in Ligue 1 on Sunday after two weeks on the sidelines with an abdominal muscle injury. READ  

Military raises readiness level over Ukraine
Swedish soldiers in Afghanistan. File photo: Magnus Lindstedt/Armed Forces

Military raises readiness level over Ukraine

The Swedish military said Saturday it had increased intelligence gathering and called in extra staff to its headquarters over the crisis in Ukraine, as the prime minister compared Russia's current behaviour with the Cold War. READ  

Police injured in anti-Nazi protest in Stockholm
Police and demonstrators on Saturday. Photo: Fredrik Persson/TT

Police injured in anti-Nazi protest in Stockholm

Swedish police said three officers were injured Saturday as they faced a crowd of thousands protesting against a neo-Nazi rally in central Stockholm. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Tech
Sweden's highest peak to lose title next year
Politics
How immigration became a key election issue
Society
Brit's life in Sweden becomes BBC radio show
Gallery
People-watching August 27
Gallery
Top ten false friends in Swedish
Blog updates

25 August

Hit och dit, här och där (The Swedish Teacher) »

" Hej igen! A common challenge for Swedish language students are the location adverbs hit/här, dit/där, hem/hemma etc. Some of the location adverbs come in two versions. We should use one type of location adverb when we use a verb describes where we are, and we should use the other type of location adverb when we the verb..." READ »

 

25 August

The Dollar Store (Blogweiser) »

"A dollar store in Sweden. Blog post: http://t.co/tNuuvcP1q0 #USD #greenbacks #sweden #sverige pic.twitter.com/RHFAYf7U1k — Joel Sherwood (@joeldsherwood) August 23, 2014 There’s a chain here in Sweden called The DollarStore. This name always stood out to me in a country where they don’t use dollars. I went there for the first time this weekend. They actually accepted greenbacks..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Roma advocate scoops Wallenberg prize
Society
Meet the man who made a Swedish store recall its high heels for kids
Business & Money
'How I came to run my own business in Sweden'
Politics
Expert explains why Sweden's election oozes uncertainty
National
City plays Schindler's List theme at Nazi rally
Society
For Stockholm Fashion Week, here's the A-Z of Swedish fashion
National
'Amnesiac' man avoids deportation for ten years
Gallery
Princess Estelle through the years
Business & Money
Swedish city all set for six-hour workday trial
Business & Money
Five golden rules for the Swedish job hunt
Sponsored Article
Graduates: Insure your income in Sweden with AEA
Gallery
People-watching August 22-24
National
Armed royal guards caught (very) drunk on the job
National
Sweden orders textbook on Roma discrimination
Gallery
Violent anti-Nazi demonstrations in Malmö
Society
A closer look at Sweden's five official minority languages
Gallery
See the destruction from the southern Sweden floods
Politics
'Sweden Democrats hold the key to elections'
Society
Swedes celebrate first day of smelly fish season
Sponsored Article
Find out what gives this Swedish school executive appeal
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

746
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
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