Tags: new | hiv | strain | cuba | aggressive

New HIV Strain Discovered in Cuba Aggressive, Fast-Acting

By    |   Tuesday, 17 Feb 2015 07:21 AM

A new, more aggressive strain of HIV has been an "epidemic" among newly-infected patients in Cuba, worrying AIDS researchers that the disease progresses so fast that it could become resistant to therapy.

The discovery made by researchers at Belgium's Catholic University of Leuven and published this week in the medical journal EBioMedicine, caught the attention of South Florida AIDS researchers and activists who noted the new HIV strain can become full-blown AIDS in three years if not detected and treated, according to the Miami Herald.

"We knew that sooner or later we were going to face this locally," Hector Bolivar, a physician and infectious disease specialist with the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine told the Herald. "Cuba is local for Miami. We may see similar situations here in Miami in the future, and that's something I'm concerned about."

The Herald noted, though, that some researchers have questioned the methodology of the study and the scientific community's ability to replicate the findings with just 95 patients in the research.

Bolivar told the newspaper, though, that HIV has an established history of mutation with more than 60 known strains of HIV type 1 in existence.

"The only thing now is that in Cuba, it is associated with rapid progression [of the disease]," said Bolivar. "It's something that hasn't been seen before that clearly."

CBS News reported that the researchers examined blood samples of 73 patients who had been recently infected with HIV. From that group, 52 already had full-blown AIDS.

The researchers then compared the samples with 22 AIDS patients who had more common strains of the virus.

Researchers discovered that the HIV strain CRF19 found in Cuba progressed to full blown AIDS within two to three years instead of the usual 10 years, noted CBS News. That meant HIV patients in Cuba were more likely to get sick before they even knew they were infected and a shorter time span to stop the disease's advancement.

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A new, more aggressive strain of HIV has been an "epidemic" among newly-infected patients in Cuba, worrying AIDS researchers that the disease progresses so fast that it could become resistant to therapy.
new, hiv, strain, cuba, aggressive
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2015-21-17
Tuesday, 17 Feb 2015 07:21 AM
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