Irish Researcher Identifies Previously Undiscovered Strain of HIV
An Irish researcher has uncovered a previously unknown strain of HIV that could aid in the development of an HIV vaccine, Reuters/Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel reports. The findings were published in the International Retrovirology Association's journal AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses and were made public yesterday by the National University of Ireland-Maynooth (Reuters/Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, 6/30). Dr. Grace McCormack of the university's biology department found the strain in blood samples from Malawi during research on the molecular evolution of HIV (Holland, Irish Times, 6/30). Some of the samples in McCormack's study, which she has been working on for three years, are from the early 1980s when the AIDS epidemic was first recognized, according to Reuters/Sun-Sentinel. McCormack said, "It is very interesting because while we have found people infected with it in the 1980s, we haven't found any examples of it in the 1990s yet." She added, "As a result, it might be a strain of the virus that has failed. Because of that it may give us information on how to defeat the virus." Researchers said that they hope the findings could lead to new prevention and control tools to fight HIV/AIDS, including an HIV vaccine, Reuters/Sun-Sentinel reports. McCormack said that she has applied for additional funding and hopes to finish her research within the next three years (Reuters/Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, 6/30).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.