As if HIV and AIDS wasn’t scary enough… The disease has stricken the Black community for decades and was starting to see some action against the disease, but for the first time in 19 years, a team of scientists has detected a new strain of HIV.
The new strain, called HIV-1 group M subtype L, is extremely rare and can be detected by Abbott’s current screening system, Rodgers says. The company’s tests screen more than 60 percent of the global blood supply, she adds, noting it must detect every strain and “has to be right every time.”
In the early days of HIV/AIDS in the 1980s and 1990s, some blood donors unaware that they had HIV added the virus to the blood supply. A large number of patients who needed regular blood transfusions—among them, many with hemophilia—ended up contracting HIV and often dying. The supply has been essentially clear of HIV for years, and Rodgers says efforts such as Abbott’s will help keep it that way.
“It can be a real challenge for diagnostic tests,” Mary Rodgers, a co-author of the report and a principal scientist at Abbott, said. Her company tests more than 60% of the