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AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2008 Oct;24(10):1327-35. doi: 10.1089/aid.2008.0101.

Identification of new CRF43_02G and CRF25_cpx in Saudi Arabia based on full genome sequence analysis of six HIV type 1 isolates.

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  • 1Abbott Diagnostics, Abbott Park, Illinois 60064, USA.


Recently, we reported a high level of HIV-1 strain diversity in patients at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Based on phylogenetic analysis of gag p24, pol integrase, and env gp41 sequences, subtypes A, B, C, D, and G, and CRF02_AG, as well as unique recombinant forms were identified. Subtype G accounted for 25% of the infections in the Saudi population and this high prevalence was unexpected. Although subtype G is found in west central Africa, pure subtype G strains are uncommon. To further characterize the subtype G infections in Saudi Arabia, six strains that appeared to be pure subtype G were selected for full genome sequencing. Near full-length genomes were obtained using RT-PCR amplification to generate overlapping fragments from viral RNA extracted from plasma. The six strains are not subtype G throughout their entire genome. Four isolates have a recombinant structure composed of CRF02_AG and subtype G and share three identical breakpoints. This recombinant form defines a new CRF designated CRF43_02G. The remaining two isolates are CRF25_cpx, a circulating recombinant form identified in Cameroon composed of subtypes A and G and unclassified segments. Reanalysis of the previously reported Saudi HIV-1 partial genome sequences revealed additional isolates classified as CRF43_02G and CRF25_cpx and one isolate was reclassified to CRF22_01A. Identification of CRF43_02G in Saudi Arabia could indicate a transmission network within the country. Alternatively, the new CRF could have been introduced from an external source where this CRF is not yet recognized.

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