Different epidemic potentials of the HIV-1B and C subtypes.
Salemi M., de Oliveira T., Soares MA., Pybus O., Dumans AT., Vandamme AM., Tanuri A., Cassol S., Fitch WM.
HIV, the cause of AIDS in humans, is characterized by great genetic heterogeneity. In particular, HIV-1 group M subtypes are responsible for most of the infections worldwide. We investigate the demographic history of HIV-1B and HIV-1C subtypes in South Africa and Brazil using both a parametric and a nonparametric approach based on coalescent theory. Our results show that although both subtypes are spreading exponentially in Brazil, the HIV-1C growth rate is about twice that of Brazilian HIV-1B or South African HIV-1C, providing evidence, for the first time, of a different epidemic potential between two HIV-1 subtypes. The present study not only may have important consequences for devising future vaccination and therapeutic strategies, but also offers additional evidence that skyline plots are indeed a simple and powerful tool for monitoring and predicting the behavior of viral epidemics.