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J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2005 Aug 15;39(5):598-605.

Predominance of a rare type of HIV-1 in Estonia.

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  • 1FIT Biotech Oyj Plc Eesti, Tartu, Estonia.


An earlier study has indicated that a complex recombinant HIV-1 strain dominates the epidemic in Estonia. The objective of this study was to further investigate the molecular epidemiology and genetic structure of HIV-1 in Estonia. Most of the investigated individuals became infected after August 2000 when HIV-1 started to spread rapidly among Estonian intravenous drug users (IDUs). Two viral DNA regions, gag/pol and gp41, were sequenced and subtyped from peripheral blood mononuclear cells or plasma from 141 individuals. Phylogenetic analysis in the gp41 region revealed that the most frequent type of the virus among IDUs was a circulating recombinant form, CRF06_cpx, whereas a few samples showed highest sequence similarity to a subtype A strain circulating in Ukraine and Russia. Likewise, in the gag/pol region, most of the samples were classified as CRF06_cpx, with a few classified as subtype A. In this region, however, 16% of the sequences turned out to be mosaic unique recombinant forms consisting of CRF06_cpx and subtype A. At least 9 mosaic forms were identified, each with distinct patterns of multiple crossover. To characterize Estonian CRF06_cpx as well as recombinant isolates in more detail, 4 near-full-length HIV-1 genomes were sequenced.

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