Identifying a more infectious HIV variant Feb. 3, 2022

from Science In Action· ·

We’re 40 years into the AIDS pandemic, and even with massive public health campaigns, still, 1 ½ million become infected with HIV each year; about half that number die of its ravages. And a study just out shows that this well- understood virus can still take on more worrying forms as a new variant has been uncovered. Although the total number of cases involved is small, and the new variant is as treatable as earlier strains, the finding underlines that viruses can become more infectious and more virulent. Back in October 2020, before we had effective vaccines, 36 plucky volunteers …



We’re 40 years into the AIDS pandemic, and even with massive public health campaigns, still, 1 ½ million become infected with HIV each year; about half that number die of its ravages. And a study just out shows that this well- understood virus can still take on more worrying forms as a new variant has been uncovered. Although the total number of cases involved is small, and the new variant is as treatable as earlier strains, the finding underlines that viruses can become more infectious and more virulent. Back in October 2020, before we had effective vaccines, 36 plucky volunteers agreed to be deliberately infected with SARS-CoV-2 in order to better understand the infection process and outcomes in what’s known as a human “challenge” trial. Dr. Chris Chiu from Imperial College reveals what they’ve learned now the results of the study are in. We’ll hear about a new plastic that’s stronger than steel and as many gardeners have long suspected, – spring-flowering has over many years been occurring earlier and earlier, at least according to a new UK study. We discuss the implications for the ecosystem. Presenter: Roland Pease Producers: Julian Siddle and Rami Tzabar (Image: 3D illustration of HIV virus. Credit: Artem Egorov/Getty Images)