In South Africa, searching for variables to challenge HIV

South Africa has officially entered the fourth wave which is advancing at a fast pace ” like never before “ According to the authorities, HIV-positive patients are again canceling their follow-up consultations, as they have done in every wave since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. “In the clinics we work with, the number of people living with HIV has been halved. The number of patients undergoing treatment has also decreased and the number of people not coming for consultations has increased.”Dr. Moyahabo Mapitsi, executive director of South African organization Anova, which supports the government in HIV testing and treatment in more than 500 clinics, explains.

With nearly eight million people living with HIV, South Africa is the primary focus of the global HIV epidemic. While nearly five million of them are under active surveillance and have an undetectable viral load, at least two million are not on treatment and this number is feared to be understated due to the low number of screening tests. The number of patients who started ART fell by more than a third between 2019 and 2020 as a result of the pandemic.

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In a column published on December 2 in the magazine temper nature, four South African scientists, including two members of the team behind the discovery of the Omicron and Beta variants, are skeptical in the international community about the risk that this break in the epidemic could pose to the development of the epidemic. Getting care for people living with HIV: “Failure to fight the epidemic at the height of the emergency in countries with high rates of advanced HIV infection and inadequate treatment could lead to the emergence of different types of SARS-CoV-2 that are more transmissible or make vaccines less effective.”

Hypothesis of prolonged infection in immunodeficiency

A carefully balanced statement to communicate one of the most sensitive hypotheses about the sudden appearance of highly mutated variants. Prolonged infection with SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in people immunocompromised due to cancer chemotherapy and HIV infection could be involved in the emergence of the alpha variant, which was discovered in the UK in November 2020, from the beta variant detected in South Africa. In October 2020, from the gamma variable, which was discovered in Manaus, Brazil, in January 2021, and now, from the omicron variable.

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