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AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2009 Aug;25(8):823-32. doi: 10.1089/aid.2008.0283.

Genetic characterization of eight full-length HIV type 1 genomes from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) reveal a new subsubtype, A5, in the A radiation that predominates in the recombinant structure of CRF26_A5U.

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  • 1UMR145, Institut de Recherches sur le Développement (IRD) and Université Montpellier 1, Montpellier, France .


In this study, we characterized HIV-1 strains from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), previously described as divergent subtype A (n = 1, 97CD.KMST91) or untypable (n = 7) in the V3-V5 env region. Four strains had the same structure over the entire genome, including alternating fragments of a new subsubtype, A5, within the subtype A radiation and fragments that remain unclassified. Therefore, the cluster of new viruses represents a new circulating recombinant, CRF26_A5U. Three additional strains were unique recombinants with the newly described CRF26_A5U and subtype C. Finally, the nearly full-length sequence of 97CD.KMST91 showed that this strain also consisted of alternating fragments of a divergent subtype A lineage and unclassified fragments, although different from previously reported A and U sequences. The high genetic distances among the different CRF26-A5U strains suggest their longstanding presence in the DRC.

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