A new strain of the HIV virus has been discovered in the Philippines that it has shown resistance to current antiretroviral drug treatment.
Scientists say the aggressive HIV, subtype AE, is the cause of skyrocketing HIV infection rates in the Philippines, and warn that the new strain progresses to AIDs faster than the HIV subtype B generally found in western countries.
The total number of new HIV infections in the Philippines increased by 140 percent from 2010 to 2016.
“The HIV virus has the potential to transform itself into a new and different virus each time it affects a cell,” Dr Edsel Salvana, director of the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at the University of the Philippines told Germany’s international broadcaster, Deutsche Welle. “HIV is not done yet. We cannot think of HIV as a single virus but as a collection of viruses that are evolving, with a new mutation that can possibly set off a new epidemic.”