Scientists Find Dangerous HIV Variant in the Netherlands

Scientists Find Dangerous HIV Variant in the Netherlands
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The World Health Organization estimates that back at the end of 2020, there were about 37.7 million people who had been living with HIV. This condition is nothing to be neglected, but even so, it can go through some transformations.

According to Gizmodo, there’s a highly virulent HIV variant that has been circulating in the Netherlands without leaving much of a trace, and it’s even suspected to had been around for decades. A new study of researchers from the UK and other parts of the world speaks about the variant.

There is hope

The researchers also discovered that the HIV variant in question still responds to conventional treatments. Furthermore, its spread appears to have declined in the last years.

Scientists wanted to figure out why some strains of HIV can be more destructive to a person’s immune system than others if it isn’t treated. For that, they had been working on the BEEHIVE project. They had been studying samples of individuals that were HIV-positive and found in Europe and Uganda. Even samples from earlier studies were analyzed.

The researchers found a group of 17 people, the majority being from the Netherlands. They all carried the same variant HIV-1. This version was named the “VB variant,” and it seems to be exceptionally virulent. Another database of HIV patients from the Netherlands was analyzed for confirmation. More people from that group also had the VB variant.

Chris Wymant, the lead author of the study, said:

Before this study, the genetics of the HIV virus were known to be relevant for virulence, implying that the evolution of a new variant could change its impact on health. Discovery of the VB variant demonstrated this, providing a rare example of the risk posed by viral virulence evolution.

The new findings were published in Science.


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Cristian Antonescu

Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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