Computer simulations can predict HIV transmissions across populations
The computer simulations are now proven to be successful in tracking and predicting the virus's movements through populations, researchers said.
"We looked for special genetic patterns that we had seen in the simulations, and we can confirm that these patterns also hold for real data covering the entire epidemic," said Thomas Leitner, a computational biologist at Los Alamos National Laboratory in the US.
The changing "genetic signatures" of its code provide a path that researchers can follow in determining the origin and timeframe of an infection.
The rapid mutational capability of the virus is one of the features that makes it so difficult to tackle with a vaccine.
"These HIV transmissions had known linkage based on epidemiological information such as partner studies, mother-to-child transmission, pairs identified by contact tracing, and criminal cases," the researchers said.
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