News of the WeekAIDS Research

New HIV Strain Could Pose Health Threat

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Science  04 Sep 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5382, pp. 1425-1426
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5382.1425a

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A team of AIDS researchers from France, Cameroon, and Gabon has added yet another branch to HIV's convoluted family tree: It has isolated a version of the virus from a Cameroonian woman who died of AIDS in 1995 that is sufficiently different from known strains that it may evade current blood tests. This new strain--which currently seems to be rare and localized--may provide new clues about HIV's origins, including when and how some viral strains might have jumped to humans from other primates. Because of the potential threat to public health, the paper's authors are urging that HIV tests be modified to pick up the new strain.