Group M is the most common type of HIV, and is responsible for the global pandemic, which can be traced back to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in Sub-Saharan Africa.
For the first time in 19 years, a team of scientists has detected a new strain of HIV. A third sample of the subtype was collected in 2001, but scientists didn't yet have the technology to sequence the genome and determine its shared HIV-1 subtype L status.
There's no reason to worry about it a little bit.More news: 'Fresh Off The Boat' Cancelled - No Season 7 For ABC Comedy
Almost after half a century after HIV killed its first victim, another sub-type of it is now found by research published on 6 November in Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes journal.
Global healthcare company Abbott made the discovery, which is published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (JAIDS).
For the HIV pandemic to end, "outthinking the viruses" and utilize our existing technologies and resources to monitor its evolution are what we should be doing, said Dr. Carole McArthur, also a co-author of the study who works as a professor in the department of oral and craniofacial sciences at the University of Missouri, Kansas City.
It the first time a new subtype of Group M HIV has been identified since classification guidelines were established at the turn of the century.More news: Selena Gomez & Sister Gracie Wear Matching Outfits at 'Frozen 2′ Premiere!
Even though the new HIV infections are going down globally, researchers are vigilant to monitor for new strains to make sure testing and treatments continue to work.
Next generation sequencing technology is now allowing researchers to build an entire genome at higher speeds and lower costs. Abbott continues to look for potential new HIV strains to ensure that diagnostic tests for blood screening and detecting infectious diseases remain up to date, says Mary Rodgers, senior author of the paper announcing the finding and head of the company's Global Viral Surveillance Program. "This scientific discovery can help us ensure we are stopping new pandemics in their tracks", she added.
Rodgers compared the 2000 strain to a "needle in a haystack" and the new technology is like using a magnet to pull the needle out.
In Nigeria, according to the Nigeria National HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS), there are 1.9 million people living with HIV in the country and about 1.2 million are undergoing treatment.More news: Police name the 39 victims found dead in Essex lorry