Nov. 27 (UPI) -- Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have found a new stain of the Human immunodeficiency virus, which is responsible for significantly accelerated development of AIDS.
The recombinant, or fusing of two strains, studied is called A3/02 and is a cross between two commonly found strains, 02AG and A3. So far the new strain has been found only in West Africa, but researchers said that the spread of recombinants has been increasing.
In regions with high levels of immigration, like Europe and the U.S., there is a higher incidence of the crossing of different strains.
"Recombinants seem to be more vigorous and more aggressive than the strains from which they developed", said Angelica Palm, a doctoral student at Lund University, in a statement.
The new strain accelerated the period from infection to development of AIDS and was the shortest among reported HIV strains, around five years.
The researchers' findings are published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.
"HIV is an extremely dynamic and variable virus. New subtypes and recombinant forms of HIV-1 have been introduced to our part of the world, and it is highly likely that there are a large number of circulating recombinants of which we know little or nothing. We therefore need to be aware of how the HIV-1 epidemic changes over time", said Patrik Medstrand, Professor of Clinical Virology at Lund University.
[Journal of Infectious Diseases]