UCLA scientists discover African strain of AIDS in two American infants

In the largest long-term study of HIV-infected infants and children to date, UCLA AIDS Institute researchers discovered that African strains of the virus infected two American infants as early as 1994. The results are published in the April issue of AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses.

The scientists also found that multi-drug cocktails available for children only since 1997 successfully combat the spread of HIV in most pediatric patients. However, the more complicated regimens work best posing a host of social problems as these children enter adolescence. These findings are published in the April edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases.

The good news is that HIV-infected children can safely take these complex drug combinations, said Dr. Paul Krogstad, UCLA associate professor of pediatrics and pharmacology and a member of the UCLA AIDS Institute. The bad news is that U.S. medical lab tests may be overlooking evidence that overseas viral strains are affecting American children, he said.

African HIV strains infect two children

Krogstad and his colleagues discovered that two of the American children in the UCLA study possessed HIV strains commonly found in Africa. The research team discovered the African strains while analyzing the genetic profile of the virus in children who had developed resistance to anti-HIV drug regimens.

One infant carried the African strain D and the other had contracted a type that combined African viral strains A and G. The childrens mothers had transmitted the AIDS virus to them during their births in the United States in the mid 1990s. In the United States and Western Europe, viral strain B causes most HIV infections.

The scientists original tests showed that both children had responded well to the antiviral drugs. At the end of the year, however, the team remeasured the childrens viral loads with another diagnostic method designed to detect non-B viral strains.

Not only d

Contact: Elaine Schmidt
University of California - Los Angeles

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