Edsel Salvaña, a molecular epidemiologist and infectious disease specialist, delivered a talk on HIV for TED, which highlights how the virus is adapting to modern treatments and affecting many people in the Philippines.
The specific variant of the virus that Salvaña speaks to is the HIV subtype AE, an aggressive version that could be leading to a global resurgence. As Salvaña explains, HIV has the potential to transform itself and become a different virus every time that it affects a cell, making it incredibly difficult for researches to address its many mutations. Currently, there are nearly 100 subtypes of HIV, and new ones are constantly being found. As Salvaña explains, the recent explosion of the virus in the Philippines is due to a transformation of a subtype B to an AE, which is more aggressive and resistant to treatment.
With his talk on HIV, Salvaña communicates the need to maintain research funding and awareness initiatives, in order to prevent a deadly resurgence from occurring in more places.