A new deadly strain of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) has been detected in some patients in Cuba, which the researchers claim much more aggressive as compared to the previously known strains of virus.
According to a new study, the progression rate of the new strain of HIV is so fast that it could cause the potentially fatal disease Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in the person within three years of infection.
The condition is growing worrisome for the health scientists and professionals in Cuba and other parts of the world as the existing antiretroviral drugs treatments are falling short of this new strain as they are likely coming too late to combat its rapid progression.
The new HIV variant, dubbed CRF19, is a combination of HIV subtypes A, D and G.
Health experts say any HIV strain usually takes five to ten years to progress into AIDS, a potentially deadly disease, in the absence of any proper treatment.
“As these patients had progressed very fast, they are likely to be recently infected. As we know that they had been tested HIV negative one or a maximum two years before, none of them had received any form of treatment for the virus. And all of them are infected with the mutated strain of HIV and now have developed AIDS within three years period,” Anne-Mieke Vandamme, a professor of medicine at the University of Leuvan in Belgium, explained.
The progression rate of HIV to develop into AIDS majorly depends upon the immune system of the patient in comparison to any particular virus subtype. But, Vandamme says the one happening in Cuba is something very different and new.
The medical experts strongly recommends the people living in or visiting Cuba to beef up all preventive measures, such as avoid unprotected sex or have safe blood transfusion, to minimize their risk of falling prey to the potentially fatal disease.
The study’s findings were detailed in the journal EBioMedicine.