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Why uncontrolled HIV may be behind the emergence of Omicron

Analysis: experts say weakened immune systems may give rise to new Covid variants – so HIV prevention could be key to stopping coronavirus

Where did Omicron come from? By all accounts it is a weird variant. Though highly mutated, it descended not from one of the other variants of concern, such as Alpha, Beta or Delta, but from coronavirus that was circulating maybe 18 months ago. So where has it been all this time? And why is it only wreaking havoc now?

Researchers are exploring a number of hunches. One is that Omicron arose in a remote region of southern Africa but failed to spread until now. Another is that it evolved in infected animals, such as rats, and then crossed back into humans. But a third explanation is gaining ground as more data come to light, that Omicron arose in a person with a weakened immune system: someone having cancer treatment perhaps, an organ transplant patient or someone with uncontrolled HIV.

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Read the original article at The Guardian

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