Study sees risk of epidemic HIV drug-resistant
The increased circulation of variants of HIV resistant to antiretroviral therapy in the U.S. may cause an epidemic of such "supervirus" commencing in developed countries.
The warning comes from a study published in the journal "Science," which focused on the dynamics of HIV transmission in San Francisco, California.
In recent 20 years, the presence of resistant virus has grown significantly in the city as well as in most rich countries, where antiretroviral therapy is common.
As HIV positive people can transmit it to more than one person, the researchers argue that the threat of epidemics in these countries is real.
To map the evolution of HIV San Francisco, scientists have created a mathematical model to the data of the infections in the last two decades.
The simulation considered the transmission of the three types of HIV resistant to antiretroviral main market. From these data identified the factors that led to the treatment of drug resistance.
The model showed that many of HIV resistant, which have evolved over the past decade, are transmitted from one person to another more easily than previously believed. This new dynamics, scientists say, has the potential to cause a new wave of drug resistance.
Although the medicines have managed to keep the transmission rate of HIV resistant 15% below what would be expected, some 60% of viruses of this type have the potential to cause epidemics if self-sustaining spiral out of control.
"This study is not just about San Francisco. It's basically about many other communities in rich countries and has significant implications for global health, "said Sally Blower of the University of California at Los Angeles, lead researcher in a statement.
She said the mathematical model applied to the city can be applied to "any other place" as long as necessary adjustments made.
A major concern of scientists is now the spread of resistant virus treatments in poor countries.
The arrival of this type HIV the locations where access to medicines is difficult and public health policy are limited can nullify the recent advances made in areas hardest hit by HIVSuch as South Africa
For now, there is no data about the presence of resistant virus in the poorest countries. According to WHO (World Health Organization), the main obstacle is the lack of reliable information about public health in these nations.
The entity's insistence on treating all similarly infected HIV was criticized for Blower.
"The most disturbing is that our model shows that the current strategy for the elimination of HIV proposed by WHO may inadvertently make things worse and significantly increase levels of drug resistance in many African countries, "said the American researcher.
According to scientists, the model applied in research can be used to study the dynamics of disease resistant to other treatments.