According to one of the world's leading researchers of HIV / AIDS, the most common modification of the virus will help doctors to treat millions of people around the world suffering from the deadly disease. The results are published today in the journal EBioMedicine.
"HIV is one of a wide variety of viruses that infect mankind", - said Eric Arts, professor of microbiology and immunology.
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) destroys infection-fighting cells of the immune system. Without treatment, it gradually destroys the immune system and turns into AIDS.
According to United Nations estimates, by the end of 2015 there were about 36.7 million people living with HIV / AIDS. Of these, 1.8 million - children under the age of 15 years.
The research project, which began 15 years ago, the Arts studied how different strains of the HIV virus develops in the body. He was looking for differences in the strains and how these differences may affect the treatment. "We have no single virus has infected 33 million people, we have 33 million people infected 33 million virus, - he said. - We need to look at the differences. "
The screening of 300 women from Zimbabwe, Thailand and Uganda, HIV prevalence since the early 2000s, Arts and his team have studied the duration of the transition from HIV infection to AIDS. Scientists studied a subtype of virus, widespread in South Africa and India.
"This research project provided an opportunity to see how patients develop AIDS, and what causes it. We could analyze the progression of the disease, "- Arts said, noting that this process lasted from five to nine years.
Subtype C began to spread widely since the early 1990s, becoming the most powerful virus subtype. It develops over a long period of time without any symptoms.
Subtype C is the predominant strain of HIV in the population, and research ARTS may soon have an impact on the potential treatment of HIV-infected patients.
"Knowledge about the differences in virulence (ability of a microorganism to cause disease) of these subtypes has an impact on the treatment of drug and administration of vaccines throughout the world", - said the Arts, adding that there is still no vaccine is fully protective against HIV.
These potential therapies cause ethical controversies.
"Given the fact that billions of dollars a year are treated in the global epidemic, we can determine who needs immediate treatment and which patients can wait for some time, - said the scientist. - It is a very controversial issue that still needs to be addressed. "
Based on materials medicalxpress.com