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New aggressive HIV strain discovered in Cuba — media

February 16, 2015, 12:30 UTC+3

The new strain develops into AIDS much quicker than other known HIV types

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© ITAR-TASS/Mikhail Mordasov

HAVANA, February, 14. /TASS/. The international scientific team of the Rega Institute for Medical Research in Belgium and the Pedro Kouri Institute for Tropical Medicine in Cuba have discovered a new more aggressive strain of the HIV virus in Cuba – a recombined virus CRF19_cpx which develops into AIDS much quicker than other known HIV types, Spanish-speaking Miami newspaper El Nuevo Herald reported Friday.

The new strain consists of the D, A and G HIV virus fragments. While originated in Africa, it is in Cuba where the strain became epidemic. The scientists have examined blood samples of the Pedro Kouri Institute patients that have been treated in the Institute since 2007. The patients with the CRF19_cpx had a lot of HIV virus in blood. Unexpectedly quick development of the virus creates higher risk of the HIV affliction before a patient realizes it.

The research was initiated by the specialists concerned with more frequent cases of unexpected development of the HIV virus. The HIV disease usually develops into AIDS within 6-10 years while the AIDS symptoms were revealed already at the stage of diagnosis in 16% of the examined cases in Cuba.

However the research is not enough to explain the aggressiveness of the strain. Several scientists relate it to the recent mutations of the HIV virus.

According to the joint UN Program on HIV/AIDS the number of HIV/AIDS cases in the Caribbean has decreased by 40% since 2005. According to the latest data more than 19.7 thousand HIV/AIDS cases were discovered in Cuba between 1986 and 2013, 3.3 thousand of which were lethal. 

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