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AIDS. 1997 Mar 15;11(4):445-53.

Serological and virological characterization of HIV-1 group O infection in Cameroon.

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1
Centre Pasteur du Cameroun, National Public Health and Reference Laboratory Yaoundé, Cameroun.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To study the presence of HIV-1 group O infection among HIV-infected people in Cameroon and to further characterize the HIV-1 group O infections.

DESIGN AND METHODS:

During a 2-year survey (1994-1995), all samples tested positive in screening methods in the National Reference and Public Health Laboratory, Centre Pasteur, Yaoundé, Cameroon were identified as HIV-1 group M, HIV-1 group O or HIV-2 by using a serological algorithm. HIV-1 group M and HIV-1 group O were distinguished on the basis of competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) reactivity against gp41 group M recombinant protein. HIV-1 group O infections were confirmed by using group O-specific V3 synthetic peptides. HIV-1 group O strains were isolated by lymphocyte cocultures, proviral DNA was amplified with specific primers, and sequencing was performed on the C2V3 and gag regions.

RESULTS:

Of the 8,331 screened samples, 3,193 were HIV-reactive, 2,376 (74%) of which were considered to belong to group M. The 817 (26%) that had reacted poorly or not at all against group M gp41 were further characterized: 10 were confirmed as HIV-2 and 82 as HIV-1 group O, the others being indeterminate (n = 285) or negative (n = 440). The frequency of group O relative to group M ranged from 1% in Far North province to 6.3% in the capital. There was no difference in sex, age or frequency of clinical manifestations between group M and group O infections. Group O infection was confirmed in a subset of cases by polymerase chain reaction (n = 14), with perfect concordance. Sequencing and phylogenetic analyses confirmed the high variability inside group O.

CONCLUSIONS:

Group O and group M epidemiological patterns are known to be similar so the reason for the lower prevalence of group O remains to be found. The wide distribution of group O infection in all Cameroonian provinces underlines the importance of further characterizing the epidemic spread and diffusion of this group.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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