Author(s): Thomson MM, Njera R
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Abstract The picture of HIV-1 genetic diversity in the global pandemic continues to evolve. Identification of new variants, including circulating and unique recombinant forms, recognition of new outbreaks and of changes in established epidemics, and characterization of growing numbers of full-length genomes provide a view of high dynamism and increasing complexity. The pervasive role of recombination as a major driving force in the generation of diversity in the HIV-1 pandemic is becoming evident, and is particularly visible in areas in which different genetic forms meet, referred to as "geographic recombination hotspots". The importance of superinfection and its impact on HIV-1 diversification and propagation is surfacing, although restrictions to superinfection are also apparent. Genetic diversity within subtypes is increasing over time and new geographically localized lineages deriving from point introductions are being recognized. Characterization of such variants may be of relevance to vaccine development and may allow the detection of intrasubtype recombination and superinfection. Recent studies supporting the correlation of HIV-1 clades to immune responses and to drug resistance-associated mutations lend increasing relevance to the role of molecular epidemiology as an essential tool in combating the AIDS pandemic. However, knowledge on the global HIV-1 genetic diversity and its implications is still far from adequate and a major scaling up of efforts is needed.
This article was published in AIDS Rev
and referenced in Journal of AIDS & Clinical Research