John Libbey Eurotext



Origin, diffusion and evolution of HIV-1 group O viruses Volume 21, issue 1, Janvier-Février 2017


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Normandie Univ,
UniRouen, EA2656,
CHU de Rouen,
Laboratoire associé au Centre
national de référence du VIH,
76000 Rouen, France
* Corresponding author

HIV-1 group O (HIV-1/O) are rare variants that are mainly found in Cameroon, where they have caused several thousand cases. The reasons for their limited diffusion remain poorly understood: their emergence is estimated to have been as long ago as that of the HIV-1/M pandemic, and old cases of exportation to different continents have been identified for both groups. In France, more than a hundred cases have been identified thus far, mostly linked to Cameroon. HIV-1/O have developed a high level of genetic diversity and an atypical phylogenetic structure, for which the description has remained ambiguous due to the existence of several nomenclatures. These have only recently been unified by taking the evolutionary history of the viruses into account. Their high genetic diversity and divergence from HIV-1/M likely affects diverse properties of the strains, such as their ability to counteract the action of tetherin. Further studies of the epidemiological, evolutionary, and virological characteristics of these variants will allow a better understanding of the reasons for their limited spread and the future of the epidemic. In this respect, the recent description of diverse M/O intergroup recombinants highlights their evolutionary potential.