A molecular epidemiological investigation conducted among injecting drug users in eastern Peninsular Malaysia in 2007 identified a cluster of sequences (n = 3) located outside any known HIV-1 genotype. Analyses of near full-length nucleotide sequences of these strains from individuals with no recognizable linkage revealed that they have an identical subtype structure comprised of CRF01_AE and subtype B', distinct from any known circulating recombinant forms (CRFs). This novel CRF, designated CRF48_01B, is closely related to CRF33_01B, previously identified in Kuala Lumpur. Phylogenetic analysis of multiple CRF48_01B genome regions showed that CRF48_01B forms a monophyletic cluster within CRF33_01B, suggesting that this new recombinant is very likely a descendant of CRF33_01B. CRF48_01B thus represents one of the first examples of a "second-generation" CRF, generated by additional crossover with pre-existing CRFs. Corroborating these results, Bayesian molecular clock analyses indicated that CRF48_01B emerged in approximately 2001, approximately approximately 8 years after the emergence of CRF33_01B.
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