Nav: Home

Analysis of HIV-1B in Indonesia illuminates transmission dynamics of the virus

October 03, 2019

Research into the molecular phylogeny (evolutionary history) of the HIV-1B virus in Indonesia has succeeded in illuminating the transmission period and routes for three clades (main branches of the virus). This includes a clade thought to be unique to Indonesia, as well as clades that spread from Thailand, Europe and America in the 1970s and 1980s.

The study was made possible through a research collaboration between Kobe University and Indonesia's Airlangga University, with funding from AMED's J-GRID program (see acknowledgments). The group consisted of Professor Masanori Kameoka and Assistant Professor Tomohiro Kotaki (both from the Department of Public Health at Kobe University's Graduate School of Health Sciences), Research Assistant Shuhei Ueda (Center for Infectious Diseases at Kobe University's Graduate School of Medicine), Professor Nasronudin (Airlangga University) and Doctor Kazushi Motomura of the Osaka Institute of Public Health.

These results were published in the international journal 'Scientific Reports' on September 27th, 2019.


HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) develops into AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome), which continues to be a major health threat since the first case was discovered in 1981.

The genetic makeup of HIV adapts and changes easily. For example. HIV-1 M (Major) is the most widely spread type of HIV in the world, and for HIV-1 M alone, there are over one hundred strains within each of its nine subtypes.

HIV-1's subtype B (HIV-1B) is thought to have originated in the Democratic Republic of Congo in Central Africa, from where it spread to Haiti and America. It was subsequently transmitted to Europe and Asia, and is now found all over the globe.

Consisting of over 17,500 islands, Indonesia has the fourth largest population in the world. It also has the most instances of HIV transmission in South East Asia, with the CRF01_AE form as the predominant subtype. HIV-1 subtype B (HIV-1B) is also widely prevalent. Although rates of infection have been decreasing in Indonesia, it still remains a significant public health issue. However, many aspects regarding the origins, transmission and evolution of the virus in Indonesia are not well understood.


For this research, peripheral blood samples were taken from HIV patients at medical institutions on Indonesia's main islands of Java, Sumatra, Papua, Sulawesi and various others. Thirty two sequences of HIV-1B genes were identified. The evolution of these genes was then analyzed using a database of closely related HIV-1B sequences. These phylogenetic analyses revealed that the main type of HIV-1B in Indonesia is the Indonesian clade, followed by Chinese and American clades.

Subsequent in-depth analysis of the molecular phylogeny of these three clades revealed how they may have travelled to Indonesia. The results suggest that the Indonesian clade originated in America. It is then thought to have developed into a unique strain in Indonesia after arriving in the country in the latter half of the 1980s. The Chinese clade spread from Thailand in the late 80s, with the American clade being transmitted via Europe in the mid-80s (Figure 1). Overall, the research found that HIV-1B was introduced to Indonesia multiple times via Thailand, Europe and America throughout the 1970s and 1980s (with the earliest estimated introduction of the virus being around 1961).
Further Research

Further analysis of other strains found in Indonesia will be carried out in order to understand more about virus origins and transmission. It is vital to accurately understand the molecular phylogeny of the virus as the number of HIV-1B strains continues to increase.

To elucidate the relationship between these strains in more detail, further genome information needs to be collected in South-East Asian countries. It is hoped that the data accumulated will be utilized for the worldwide prevention of widespread HIV transmission.


This research was made possible with support from the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED)'s Japan Initiative for Global Research Network on Infectious Diseases (J-GRID) Program.

Kobe University

Related Hiv Articles:

The Lancet HIV: Severe anti-LGBT legislations associated with lower testing and awareness of HIV in African countries
This first systematic review to investigate HIV testing, treatment and viral suppression in men who have sex with men in Africa finds that among the most recent studies (conducted after 2011) only half of men have been tested for HIV in the past 12 months.
The Lancet HIV: Tenfold increase in number of adolescents on HIV treatment in South Africa since 2010, but many still untreated
A new study of more than 700,000 one to 19-year olds being treated for HIV infection suggests a ten-fold increase in the number of adolescents aged 15 to 19 receiving HIV treatment in South Africa, according to results published in The Lancet HIV journal.
Starting HIV treatment in ERs may be key to ending HIV spread worldwide
In a follow-up study conducted in South Africa, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers say they have evidence that hospital emergency departments (EDs) worldwide may be key strategic settings for curbing the spread of HIV infections in hard-to-reach populations if the EDs jump-start treatment and case management as well as diagnosis of the disease.
NIH HIV experts prioritize research to achieve sustained ART-free HIV remission
Achieving sustained remission of HIV without life-long antiretroviral therapy (ART) is a top HIV research priority, according to a new commentary in JAMA by experts at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.
First ever living donor HIV-to-HIV kidney transplant
For the first time, a person living with HIV has donated a kidney to a transplant recipient also living with HIV.
The Lancet HIV: PrEP implementation is associated with a rapid decline in new HIV infections
Study from Australia is the first to evaluate a population-level roll-out of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in men who have sex with men.
Researchers date 'hibernating' HIV strains, advancing BC's leadership in HIV cure research
Researchers have developed a novel way for dating 'hibernating' HIV strains, in an advancement for HIV cure research.
HIV RNA expression inhibitors may restore immune function in HIV-infected individuals
Immune activation and inflammation persist in the majority of treated HIV-infected individuals and is associated with excess risk of mortality and morbidity.
HIV vaccine elicits antibodies in animals that neutralize dozens of HIV strains
An experimental vaccine regimen based on the structure of a vulnerable site on HIV elicited antibodies in mice, guinea pigs and monkeys that neutralize dozens of HIV strains from around the world.
State-of-the-art HIV drug could curb HIV transmission, improve survival in India
An HIV treatment regimen already widely used in North America and Europe would likely increase the life expectancy of people living with HIV in India by nearly three years and reduce the number of new HIV infections by 23 percent with minimal impact on the country's HIV/AIDS budget.
More Hiv News and Hiv Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Why do we revere risk-takers, even when their actions terrify us? Why are some better at taking risks than others? This hour, TED speakers explore the alluring, dangerous, and calculated sides of risk. Guests include professional rock climber Alex Honnold, economist Mariana Mazzucato, psychology researcher Kashfia Rahman, structural engineer and bridge designer Ian Firth, and risk intelligence expert Dylan Evans.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#540 Specialize? Or Generalize?
Ever been called a "jack of all trades, master of none"? The world loves to elevate specialists, people who drill deep into a single topic. Those people are great. But there's a place for generalists too, argues David Epstein. Jacks of all trades are often more successful than specialists. And he's got science to back it up. We talk with Epstein about his latest book, "Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World".
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dolly Parton's America: Neon Moss
Today on Radiolab, we're bringing you the fourth episode of Jad's special series, Dolly Parton's America. In this episode, Jad goes back up the mountain to visit Dolly's actual Tennessee mountain home, where she tells stories about her first trips out of the holler. Back on the mountaintop, standing under the rain by the Little Pigeon River, the trip triggers memories of Jad's first visit to his father's childhood home, and opens the gateway to dizzying stories of music and migration. Support Radiolab today at