Study helps explain how HIV becomes AIDS

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UCI biologist Dominik Wodarz has shown for the first time that the development of AIDS might require HIV to evolve within a patient into a state where it spreads less efficiently from cell to cell. This counters the current belief that AIDS develops when the virus evolves over time to spread more efficiently within a patient, ultimately leading to the collapse of the immune system.

The study also finds that multiple HIV particles must team up to infect individual cells, called co-infection, in order for deadly strains to emerge and to turn the infection into AIDS. If just one virus particle infects a cell, the deadliest strains may not be able to evolve, stopping HIV from progressing to AIDS. By keeping more than one HIV particle from infecting a cell, scientists might be able to ward off AIDS, the study suggests. AIDS killed more than 17,000 people in the United States in 2005.

These notions can be tested experimentally. If confirmed, Wodarz believes scientists could use this knowledge to develop a drug that blocks the cellular invasion of multiple HIV particles. This would create an environment in which the most deadly HIV types cannot emerge. This, he says, could keep HIV from developing into AIDS. No such drug currently exists.

This theory could explain why certain monkeys that are naturally infected with the monkey version of HIV never develop AIDS. According to Wodarz’s model, multiple virus particles may infect cells at reduced levels or not at all. Wodarz says this theory also could be tested experimentally.

****Ralph’s Note- I put this article in for two reasons. The first one being, it leaves the possibility that certain strains of HIV may be protective against AIDS. Second that drugs currently designed to lower primary HIV levels, may Inadvertently trigger AIDS. This should be investigated immediately. So now there is a good HIV and a bad HIV it appears.

Categories: Counter Intuitive, Missed - Medical Breakthroughs

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