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Unusual Subtypes

Mar 22, 1999

Dear Doctor: How are unusual subtypes such as O and N identified? Are they initially detected by standard ELISA tests and then through sequencing found to be a different subtype or do researchers look for unusual variants of the virus in patients who are ELISA negative but who present with opportunistic infections? Also, could you elaborate on the newly-discovered type N. Where has it been found? How many cases? Was it detected by a standard ELISA test? Thanks.

Response from Dr. Holodniy

The N type of virus was not detected by ELISA assays. It has only been found in one person in Africa. Many of these new types are found in sick people (OIs, etc) in whom standard testing is negative. PCR testing followed by sequencing the virus to compare it to other strains is how most of them are found. MH

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