By Sarah Iqbal
New Delhi: The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) continues to engage scientists because of its complex nature. A team of scientists from India, UK and Spain have isolated near full genomes of HIV virus from a subset of South Indian patients – a subtype known as HIV clade C.
Because HIV exhibits huge genetic diversity, the virus undergoes frequent genomic changes and each new variant differs in its response to therapy. Examining the entire viral genome can thus offer new clues for understanding infection dynamics and tracing the evolutionary history of different strains. For this, researchers tweaked the existing method for isolating and sequencing the viral genome.
The researchers first isolated the virus from blood of 20 patients. But, unlike previous method where four overlapping fragments of viral RNA were amplified, the scientists selected 6 overlapping RNA fragments for sequencing.