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Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2009 Dec;7(10):1235-49. doi: 10.1586/eri.09.97.

Discovery and significance of new human T-lymphotropic viruses: HTLV-3 and HTLV-4.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Debrecen, Debrecen, Hungary.


Human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) and type 2 (HTLV-2) were discovered approximately 30 years ago and they are associated with various lymphoproliferative and neurological diseases. The estimated number of infected people is 10-20 million worldwide. In 2005, two new HTLV-1/HTLV-2-related viruses were detected, HTLV-3 and HTLV-4, from the same geographical area of Africa. In the last 4 years, their complete genomic sequences were determined and some of their characteristic features were studied in detail. These newly discovered retroviruses alongside their human (HTLV-1 and -2) and animal relatives (simian T-lymphotropic virus type 1-3) are reviewed. The potential risks associated with these viruses and the potential antiretroviral therapies are also discussed.

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