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HIV-1 Genome Extracted from 1966 Tissue Sample

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Scientists extracted a near-complete HIV-1 genome from a lymph node that had been preserved in wax for more than 50 years. The sample stands as the oldest HIV-1 genome yet recovered, predating the previous oldest sample by a decade, the researchers reported July 1 on the preprint server bioRxiv. 

The HIV-1 virus was first discovered in 1983, 17 years after the contaminated lymph node was collected from a 38-year-old man in Democratic Republic of Congo, according to News-Medical.Net. Upon removing the sample, pathologists fixed the tissue in formalin and embedded it in wax before stowing it away for about half a century. Many tissue samples of this type were archived in hopes of better understanding the then-unknown disease, notes The Atlantic.

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