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HIV: Scientists find aggressive variant in the Netherlands

In an article from Oxford University (United Kingdom) published last Thursday (3) in the journal science, scientists described the discovery of a more aggressive and more transmissible variant of HIV, tentatively named VB (virulent variant of subtype B).

According to the article, the new variant can carry a greater amount of viral load to the blood and still decrease the body’s defense cells. However, in an interview with BBC News, researcher Chris Wymant explained that the discovery should not cause panic, considering that science already has tests and treatments that can deal with HIV and its variants.

The article also describes that after treatment, patients diagnosed with BV began to show recovery of defense cells and mortality indicators similar to those of patients infected with the other variants. Still, experts point out that the finding reinforces the importance of access to regular testing.

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The study mentions that before treatment, patients with the VB variant had a viral load 3.5 to 5.5 times higher than those with other types of HIV and the rate of decline of defense cells was twice as fast. For now, the main theory is that the variant results from mutations that have been emerging over the years. Experts estimate that, as the genetic sequencing of samples from people with HIV is recent, the variant went unnoticed.

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