Lancet Publishes Genetic Study of Rare, Drug-Resistant HIV Strain Found in NYC Patient
March 18, 2005
The March 19 issue of the journal Lancet includes a genetic study of the rare, drug-resistant HIV strain found in a New York City patient, AFP/Yahoo! News reports. The study -- based on the work of a team of researchers from the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, where the patient was diagnosed in December 2004, and led by the center's Director Dr. David Ho and Dr. Martin Markowitz -- describes the virus as a unique variant that is resistant to multiple classes of antiretroviral drugs and associated with rapid disease progression, according to AFP/Yahoo! News. The study identified the 3-DCR virus found in the patient as a mutated strain of the B subtype of HIV-1, which is considered to be the "most widespread" of the two main types of HIV, AFP/Yahoo! News reports (AFP/Yahoo! News, 3/17). Officials from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on Feb. 11 announced that they had detected the HIV strain. The city health department issued an alert to physicians, hospitals and medical providers asking them to test all HIV-positive patients for evidence of the strain. The combination of highly drug-resistant HIV and rapid progression to AIDS had not been identified before (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/1). The genetic study also shows the virus "to be particularly effective" at entering human immune cells by latching on to two separate receptors, CCR5 and CXCR4, the New York Times reports. HIV usually only attaches to one of the receptors to enter cells. The study will allow HIV/AIDS experts and medical professionals worldwide "to more accurately evaluate the scientific basis of the alert," according to the Times.
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