HIV: Aggressive variant discovered in the Netherlands

Researchers from the University of Oxford have discovered a previously unknown but more contagious variant of the HI virus in the Netherlands. What makes the variant so dangerous and how this affects it.

HIV  comes from English and means “Human Immunodeficiency Virus”. The HI virus can damage cells and structures of the immune system. The body is susceptible to diseases, which uninfected people easily recover from. The immunodeficiency acquired through HI viruses is referred to as AIDS. In a long-term study, researchers discovered a new variant of the HI virus.

HIV variant VB more contagious than the original type

The new mutation of the VI virus is called the VB variant of HIV-1. According to the researchers, it has a viral load that is 3.5 to 5.5 times higher. This makes the pathogens more transmissible and harmful.

Regular checks slow down the spread of the VB variant

Anyone who is infected with the new variant and is already being treated is not exposed to any greater danger. After the diagnosis and subsequent treatment, those affected had a course similar to that of other HIV patients.

People with a certain HIV risk should therefore have regular tests and medical examinations carried out. Prompt treatment is important to prevent damage to the  immune system at an  early stage.

A total of 15 of the 17 proven VB cases were detected in the Netherlands. The investigation was carried out as part of a long-term monitoring project called Beehive.

In subsequent evaluations, a further 92 infections were found in the Netherlands. It was particularly widespread in the 1980s to 1990s, but experts say the variant has spread more slowly since 2010.

HIV variant may lead to AIDS more quickly

If left untreated, an infection could lead to AIDS within two to three years. A drop in the CD-4 cells of the immune system, which control the immune system and influence the formation of antibodies, could occur after just nine months.


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