• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Swedes warn of new aggressive HIV strain

The Local · 29 Nov 2013, 07:29

Published: 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."
Story continues below…
 
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)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Zlatan takes just 190 seconds to make mark
Ibrahimovic celebrates his first goal for Manchester United. Photo: TT

Scores with a spectacular mis-hit.

Sweden to investigate citizens' sex lives
It has been 20 years since the last in-depth study of the sex habits of Swedes. Photo: Tammy McGary/Flickr

The Swedish government is to launch a major study of the sex lives of its citizens after reports that lovemaking is on the wane.

Russian 'terror suspect' held at Swedish airport walks free
File photo of Arlanda Airport. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

UPDATED: A 35-year-old man has been released from police custody after being arrested at Arlanda Airport in Stockholm on Friday morning.

Northern Dispatches
'Moving to northern Sweden was the best thing we've done'
Photo: FB

In his farewell column, The Local’s northern Sweden correspondent, Paul Connolly, looks back at his first four years in Sweden.

Bear family just hanging out on Swedish golf course
Not the bear cub in question. But isn't he cute? Photo: AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko

A bear family has been roaming a Swedish golf course, and the best thing of all is that no one cares.

The Local investigates
What do we actually know about the violence in Malmö?
Police investigating an explosion in Malmö on Thursday. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

International media have presented a "distorted" view of a spate of Malmö shootings and an explosion, a senior police boss has told The Local.

The Local List
Reasons why Stockholm Pride is simply awesome
Photo: Annika af Klercker/TT.

Stockholm's Pride festival culminates on Saturday with a parade – and more than a few parties. Here's why we think it's pretty amazing.

Cashless Swedes sitting on old bills worth billions

Old Swedish bank notes worth 1.4 billion kronor are still circulating, according to the country’s central bank, despite them having been declared invalid a month ago.

Homes
In pictures: Why is Nordic design so hot right now?
Scandinavian design. Photo: House of Beatniks

Design agency Studio Esinam investigates together with Houzz.se why the world is falling in love with Nordic style.

Stockholm one of world's best places to live: magazine
Living the dream. Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

Stockholm is the tenth best city in the world to live in, reckons this British magazine.

Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Swedish cop makes arrest of the year
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
National
Anyone for a bite of 340-year-old shipwrecked stinky cheese?
Gallery
People-watching: July 27th
Blog updates

26 July

A summer of change; a summer of beauty (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"You would have had to try hard to miss the political upheavals in the UK after…" READ »

 

22 July

After the horror, carry on regardless (Globally Local) »

"This time last week, we were just digesting the horror of the Nice killings, in which…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
Why you need a EuroBonus American Express Card
Politics
Why Sweden's high taxes are not as high as you think
Sponsored Article
What can newcomers learn about Sweden at Almedalen?
National
What's haggis in a condom doing on Swedish children's TV?
National
Meet the northern Swede who is the world's best mosquito killer
National
Sweden's Hollywood star Alicia Vikander puts her pen in the bottle
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: Where Swedes go to work (and play)
Gallery
People-watching: July 22nd-24th
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
The Local Voices
The Jewish Syrian who dreams of rebuilding his country
National
Watch this Swedish weather host leave his fly open... on live TV
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
The Local Voices
'I fled war in Syria. I never expected to be beaten in Sweden'
Sponsored Article
'Sweden's Lauryn Hill' touches the country's musical soul
National
WATCH: Asylum seeker brutally beaten by Swedish bus driver
Technology
Why everyone is talking about Sweden's GTA pride parade
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
EU hits truck cartel with record price fixing fine
Sponsored Article
Local guide: the best of Berlin
Society
OPINION: Why Sweden is the most extreme country in the world
The Local Voices
'There is equality in accommodation in Sweden: Everyone is suffering'
Gallery
Property of the week: Gräsö, Östhammar
Gallery
People-watching: July 15th-17th
National
How to make sure you're not caught out by Sweden's old bank notes
Business & Money
Why Sweden has been named the most innovative country in Europe
National
Terror attack: what should you do?
National
French expat on the moment he was assaulted by a Stockholm bouncer
Technology
Gunman? Nah, smartphone Swede
The Local Voices
'If the war in Syria ended today, would you go back?'
The Local Voices
‘I feel like I’m living in a grave!’
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's Princess Victoria celebrates 39th birthday
Gallery
People-watching: July 13th
National
Swedes discover surprise mountain
The Local Voices
'Even xenophobic Swedes can be polite’
The Local Voices
'The best time to be smuggled to Europe is August 20th, 2015'
The Local Voices
Swedes: Stop obsessing over your material life and start talking to strangers
3,343
jobs available