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Scientists have identified a new strain of HIV - the first to be discovered since 2000.
The newly-discovered strain belongs to the same sub-family of the virus responsible for the pandemic that began in 1981 in Sub-Saharan Africa, spread around the globe and has killed 32 million people.
Group - M - Virus - People - Republic
It belongs to Group M of the virus and was identified in three people in the Democratic Republic of Congo by scientists at Abbott Labs, which makes HIV diagnostic tests.
The family of viruses is still the one that most commonly infects humans.
Evolution - Virus - HIV - Strain - Similarities
Although it may represent an evolution of the virus, the new HIV strain contains the necessary similarities to previously discovered Group M ones to still be diagnosed and treated using existing methods.
But the discovery of this strain - and all others of HIV - could be a step forward in their understanding of how the virus evolves, how to diagnose and treat it and to the development of a potential vaccine to end the pandemic for good.
Discovery - Tip - Iceberg - Dr - Mary
'This discovery is just the tip of the iceberg,' said Dr Mary Rodgers, a principal scientist at Abbott and a study co-author.
'Abbott is making this new strain available to the research community globally to evaluate its impact to diagnostic testing, treatments and potential vaccines.'
Time - Subtype - Group - M - HIV
This is the first time a new subtype of Group M HIV has been identified since classification guidelines for parsing out the various strains were established at the turn of the century.
Researchers say the new discovery helps them to stay one step ahead of a mutating virus and avoid new pandemics.
Novel - Strain - Time - DNA - Technology
They've actually been aware of the novel strain for some time, but DNA sequencing technology was insufficient to confirm it as new, until now.
Before an unusual virus can be determined a new subtype, three cases...
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