Scientists have discovered a new strain of HIV in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The discovery of the new strain has been reported in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (AIDS).

Technically there are three types of HIV and the latest strain is different from the other three. The new strain has been identified in three patients in the DRC and has not been found elsewhere. Local scientists say this is no cause for concern because it is treated like all the HIV strains.

Professor Salim Adbool Karim from the Centre from the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA), says the new HIV strain does not change the way HIV is managed and treated and will not affect patients in South Africa.

“This new sub-type of HIV sub-type L is such a small variation with the existing sub-types. It has no clinical significance, it’s in fact just like all the others, it is treated just like all the others and so there is no real concern from a patient’s point of view and it’s not something we have seen in many other parts of the world yet,” says Karim.