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Tracking Patient Zero for 3-DCR HIV NYC Case Cluster

Recombinomics Commentary
February 14, 2005

>>Even if the strains were the same, Dr. Ho said, it still may not mean that a supervirus is spreading because there might be genetic factors in the man that made the virus more aggressive.

The research center has also began testing a virus isolated from a man who was infected with HIV before he became a partner of the New York man.

Another virus being studied is said to infect a San Diego patient who had it before the New York man was diagnosed.

Dr. Ho said portions of the virus' genetic makeup resemble molecular pattern of the New York man's virus.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts doctors have also treated several HIV patients with a resistance to some of the most commonly prescribed treatments, raising further concerns about a possible new, drug-resistant strain of the virus. Public-health officials around the country are closely monitoring the case to determine the extent of the threat. <<

The above story suggests virus has been isolated from all three patients.

Much of this story will come out of the sequencing of the three viruses.  If the sequences are the same, then histories on the other two with the 3-DCR strain will be important.  However, since the NYC patient had many partners, it will be important to be sure that he does not have dual infections and recombinants, so complete sequencing may be important.

If his sequence is a recombinant, then he may be patient zero for this particular 3-DCR strain and aggressive contact tracing would be important.  However, tracing may be difficult since he doesn't know the names of many of his recent partners.

Sequencing of isolates from drug resistant Boston patients would also determine the relationship of those isolates with the three currently under investigation.

More details on how closely the three viruses "resemble" each other will be very important.

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