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New dangerous HIV strain penetrating Russia

The new strain has migrated from Central Asia, according to the head of immunochemistry department of the D.I. Ivanovsky Institute of Virology

MOSCOW, December 27 /TASS/. A new dangerous immune deficiency virus has broken out in Russia based on an old strain, which used to be previously widespread throughout Russia, and a new one, which has migrated from Central Asia, Doctor of Biological Sciences Professor Eduard Karamov, head of immunochemistry department of the D.I. Ivanovsky Institute of Virology, warned at a meeting of the presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences on Tuesday.

"A unique situation has developed in Russia. Our variety of the immune deficiency virus is different from the one, which is widespread in Western Europe, the United States, Africa and China. But the situation is changing radically and quickly. Labor migrants, many of whom come from Central Asia, have brought a new type of virus called AG to Russia…Having infected a huge number of people in various parts of Russia, including Moscow, the virus later intermingled with the main domestic virus known as A1 thus creating a new hybrid A63, which is much more dangerous than the original parent viruses," Karamov said.

Russia needs to monitor the emergence of new human immune deficiency hybrids and how they intermingle with each other, if it wants to fight the HIV/AIDS infection effectively, the scientist said. He suggested setting up an inter-departmental commission for HIV studies in which the Russian Academy of Sciences would play a leading role.

Earlier, Russian Academy of Sciences President Vladimir Fortov ordered Academician Vadim Pokrovsky, head of the Federal Scientific Center for Combatting and Preventing HIV infections, to convey the proposals of the Russian scientific community to the country’s executive authorities urging them to pass corresponding decisions.

In his speech at the presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Pokrovsky said that 6% of HIV strains, which exist in Russia, are drug-resistant. But scientists believe that a method called intracellular immunization, i.e. entering data, which helps inhibit a dangerous virus, into a cell, holds out a good promise of defeating the virus. The Central Scientific Research Institute of Epidemiology is already doing the necessary research.

According to Pokrovsky, 36 million people throughout the world are infected with HIV/AIDS. A total of 240,000 people have died of AIDS in Russia which, in addition to that, has 1.5 mln HIV carriers who have not fallen ill with AIDS but are potentially dangerous because they can infect other people.