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The HIV-1 Subtype C Epidemic in South America Is Linked to the United Kingdom

de Oliveira, T; Pillay, D; Gifford, RJ; UK Collaborative Grp HIV Drug Resi, ; (2010) The HIV-1 Subtype C Epidemic in South America Is Linked to the United Kingdom. PLOS ONE , 5 (2) , Article e9311. 10.1371/journal.pone.0009311. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: The global spread of HIV-1 has been accompanied by the emergence of genetically distinct viral strains. Over the past two decades subtype C viruses, which predominate in Southern and Eastern Africa, have spread rapidly throughout parts of South America. Phylogenetic studies indicate that subtype C viruses were introduced to South America through a single founder event that occurred in Southern Brazil. However, the external route via which subtype C viruses spread to the South American continent has remained unclear.Methodology/Principal Findings: We used automated genotyping to screen 8,309 HIV-1 subtype C pol gene sequences sampled within the UK for isolates genetically linked to the subtype C epidemic in South America. Maximum likelihood and Bayesian approaches were used to explore the phylogenetic relationships between 54 sequences identified in this screen, and a set of globally sampled subtype C reference sequences. Phylogenetic trees disclosed a robustly supported relationship between sequences from Brazil, the UK and East Africa. A monophyletic cluster comprised exclusively of sequences from the UK and Brazil was identified and dated to approximately the early 1980s using a Bayesian coalescent-based method. A sub-cluster of 27 sequences isolated from homosexual men of UK origin was also identified and dated to the early 1990s.Conclusions: Phylogenetic, demographic and temporal data support the conclusion that the UK was a crucial staging post in the spread of subtype C from East Africa to South America. This unexpected finding demonstrates the role of diffuse international networks in the global spread of HIV-1 infection, and the utility of globally sampled viral sequence data in revealing these networks. Additionally, we show that subtype C viruses are spreading within the UK amongst men who have sex with men.

Type: Article
Title: The HIV-1 Subtype C Epidemic in South America Is Linked to the United Kingdom
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0009311
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0009311
Language: English
Additional information: © 2010 de Oliveira et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Tulio de Oliveira is funded by the Wellcome Trust (082384/Z/07/Z) and the European Union (SANTE 2007 147–790). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Keywords: IMMUNODEFICIENCY-VIRUS TYPE-1, MOLECULAR EPIDEMIOLOGY, GENETIC DIVERSITY, K65R RESISTANCE, HIGH-THROUGHPUT, BRAZIL, SURVEILLANCE, RECOMBINANTS, PREVALENCE, SEQUENCES
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Infection and Immunity
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/84966
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