The study of HIV allowed to make a lot of discoveries, not only in virology, but also in related disciplines – in immunology, epidemiology, molecular biology. However, there are still no drugs that can cure HIV-positive completely, and the possibilities of vaccine prevention are still a hot topic.
There are other “open” questions. One of them is when and how the human immunodeficiency virus appeared. Without reliable data on this and on the pathways of the evolution of HIV, it is difficult to count on the creation of effective protective measures. In addition, the risk of filling “white spots” with unreliable facts is great. It is the lack of knowledge that can explain the appearance of publications, as if HIV is a new biological weapon created by Americans (Russians), or that HIV has long existed in the world, but has nothing to do with the development of AIDS. To address the origin of HIV, it is necessary to know which viruses of this type circulate in the human population, what mechanisms are at the base of their variability, whether there are analogues to the causative agent of AIDS in the world.
Almost immediately after the first reports about HIV, information appeared about its extremely high variability – so high that in nature, apparently, there are no two absolutely identical HIV genes. Differences between viruses isolated in different countries reach sometimes 40-50%. Obviously, such high differences can not affect the approaches to the vaccine development strategy.
The study of the variability of the genome of the virus, the patterns of distribution of its subtypes in different countries and vulnerable groups broadens our understanding of the mechanisms, the evolution of HIV. These studies are also useful in practical medicine, because they make it possible to predict the development of the epidemic. Knowledge of HIV variants that dominate a particular area is important for the development of future vaccines.