Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

New research into the HIV-1 virus has shed light on an important factor in the evolution of viruses, which is likely also to affect SARS-CoV-2 (the virus which causes COVID-19). This new insight could have important implications for vaccine development.

Vaccine needle​ syringe

Differences in the cellular immune system in different human populations are now known to influence a virus’s evolution. A virus will adapt and may ultimately form subtypes to escape common antiviral immune responses.

For the first time, in a paper published in Virus Evolution, Professor Astrid Iversen of the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Oxford and collaborators have shown a strong link between ethnic diversity in African countries and the diversity of HIV-1 p24Gag and HIV-1 subtypes.

By analysing the HIV-B epidemic in the USA, they also reveal that viral evolution is ongoing and is affected by the continuously increasing proportion of African Americans in the HIV-infected population over time. This result underscores how inequalities in health care can affect pathogen evolution if a specific ethnic group is disproportionately disadvantaged.

The full story is available on the University of Oxford website

Similar stories

Language learning difficulties in children linked to brain differences

A new study using MRI has revealed structural brain changes in children with developmental language disorder (DLD), a common but under-recognised difficulty in language learning. Children with DLD aged 10-15 showed reduced levels of myelin in areas of the brain associated with speaking and listening to others, and areas involved in learning new skills. This finding is a significant advance in our understanding of DLD and these brain differences may explain the poorer language outcomes in this group.

The Gene Therapists Headline at Glastonbury 2022

Rosie Munday writes about her experience taking science to the masses at the Glastonbury Festival.

New research reveals relationship between particular brain circuits and different aspects of mental wellbeing

Researchers at the University of Oxford have uncovered previously unknown details about how changes in the brain contribute to changes in wellbeing.

Night-time blood pressure assessment is found to be important in diagnosing hypertension

Around 15% of people aged 40-75 may have a form of undiagnosed high blood pressure (hypertension) that occurs only at night-time. Because they do not know about this, and therefore are not being treated for it, they are at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease such as stroke, heart failure, and even death, suggests new research from the University of Oxford published in the British Journal of General Practice.

Major new NIHR Global Health Research Unit to focus on data science and genomic surveillance of antimicrobial resistance

The Centre for Genomic Pathogen Surveillance, part of the Big Data Institute at the University of Oxford, has been awarded funding worth £7m for their work as an NIHR Global Health Research Unit (GHRU) for the next five years. The Centre’s research and capacity building work focuses on delivering genomics and enabling data for the surveillance of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).