It is for the first time that a new subtype of group M, the most common strain of HIV virus, has been identified, after establishing the classification guidelines, at the turn of the century.
Group M viruses are responsible for the global pandemic, and its origins have been identified by researchers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Scientists have noted that the new discovery helps them be one step ahead of a mutant virus and avoid new pandemics.
Before a new subtype can be detected by an unusual virus, it is necessary for three cases to be discovered independently.
The first two samples of the new HIV-1 Group M, subtype L, were discovered in the DRC in the 1980s and 1990s.
The third, collected in 2001, was difficult to sequence at that time because of the amount of virus in the sample and the existing technology.
The Abbott company made the discovery, published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (JAIDS).
Carole McArthur of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, one of the study's authors, said: '' In an increasingly connected world, we can no longer think that viruses could be limited in one area. This discovery reminds us that to put an end to the HIV pandemic, we must continue to take it before this ever-changing virus and use the latest technological advances and resources to monitor its evolution. ''
Existing diagnostic tests and antiretroviral drugs, which suppress HIV development, are designed to target areas of the virus common to all groups, notes the Press Association.
The HIV virus causes AIDS, which progressively attacks and destroys the body's immune system. The disease is manifested by serious infections that cause weight loss, disorders of the brain and central nervous system.
To reproduce, HIV must enter a cell of the immune system. The virus enters the body through sexual contact, through contamination with the infected blood or from the infected mother to the fetus, during pregnancy, birth and lactation. HIV can be present in biological fluids, such as blood, sperm, vaginal secretions and breast milk.
An HIV-positive person does not necessarily have the signs of the disease. However, it is a virus carrier and therefore susceptible to transmission.