Introduction to “HIV-1 subtype B: Traces of a pandemic”

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Text by Michael Emerman (Editor-in-Chief, Virology)

The HIV-1 pandemic is now over 30 years old and has claimed over 35 million lives.  Since its origins in chimpanzees, HIV-1 has diversified into several different subtypes, of which the one that has disseminated most widely worldwide is the one called “subtype B.”  The review,  HIV-1 subtype B: Traces of a pandemic published in the  August 2016 issue of Virology describes the evidence based on viral sequence data of how subtype B emerged in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo, went to the America’s in the 1960’s and then subsequently spread around the world establishing connected epidemics on different continents.


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Estimated spatial dynamics of HIV-1 Subtype B around the world. Blue lines represent the main dissemination routes of HIV-1 subtype B pandemic form and the main disease epicenters. The epidemic starts in the city of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (Africa). Orange lines represent the direction of the B non-pandemic lineage dissemination. Green regions demarcate the countries where a specific lineage of the HIV-1 subtype B is circulating.

About the research

HIV-1 subtype B: Traces of a pandemic
Dennis Maletich Junqueira, Sabrina Esteves de Matos Almeidaa
Virology, Volume 495, August 2016, Pages 173–184