Since Human Immunodeficiency Virus type 1 (HIV-1) was discovered in the early 1980s, the epidemic in the western world has been dominated by subtype B of this virus, which traveled from Africa to the US via Haiti. . However, the pattern of subsequent spread remains poorly understood. Now, for the first time, an international team of scientists from the European Society for Translational Antiviral Research (ESAR) has mapped the spread routes of the virus around the world after it reached the US in the early 1970s. The study , which is published this Wednesday, June 15 in the Journal of Molecular Epidemiology and Evolutionary Genetics of Infectious Diseases, suggests that the expansion of HIV-1 subtype B reflects the geopolitical events of the second half of the 20th century, HIV is one of the fastest evolving human pathogens,
which has now made it possible to study its Bahrain Email Lists movements over the years. Researchers have analyzed almost 9,000 genomes of HIV-1 subtype B strains from 78 countries, with the aim of mapping their expansion in the world during the last 50 years and marking the most significant patterns of spread. “The history of HIV up to its arrival in the US was already known. What happened after that, however, was not clear. We wanted to see how HIV spread throughout the Western world,” explains Dr. Gkikas Magiorkinis of the Department in Zoology at the University of Oxford (UK) and co-lead author of the study. The result is a pattern that appears to reflect the post-WWII geopolitical landscape – that is, the rise and fall of the Iron Curtain – and the traditional links between countries as a result of European colonialism.
Thus, HIV-1 spread along specific migratory routes that coincide with the geopolitical factors that have affected human activity during the last 50 years, such as migration, tourism and international trade. According to Roger Paredes, an IrsiCaixa researcher who participated in the study, these results “demonstrate once again that epidemics do not understand borders. Therefore, if we want to end AIDS we will also need to act on a global scale, especially in the countries of low income where the majority of HIV-infected people live and where drug-resistant viruses are currently being transmitted. ” Connections between countries The work shows that the virus traveled from North America to Western Europe on different occasions, while Central and Eastern Europe remained isolated for most of the start of the epidemic.