Mississippi babies: AIDS virus forms reservoirs

Mississippi babies: AIDS virus forms reservoirs

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HI virus apparently nests in certain tissue types in the body

Sobering insights into the fight against the dangerous human immunodeficiency virus (HI virus), the trigger of the immune deficiency disease AIDS. As US researchers at Harvard Medical School in Boston found out, the virus apparently forms so-called “reservoirs” in the body immediately after infection - which, however, cannot be achieved with the current drugs. Accordingly, healing could be difficult again.

Animal experiments with the "Simian Immunodeficiency Virus" If an infection with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HI virus) occurs, this apparently settles in the human body within a very short time - unattainable for the currently available HIV medication. An American research team has now come to this result through animal experiments with the so-called "Simian Immunodeficiency Virus" (short: SI virus), which is considered a precursor of the HI virus and leads to AIDS-like diseases in monkeys .

Inactive pathogens can only be detected in tissue after implantation As the scientists led by virologist James Whitney from Harvard Medical School in Boston (Massachusetts) in the journal “Nature” report, the pathogen reservoirs in the human body would significantly cure the virus complicate. The reason: Although the inactive pathogens in the animals quickly settled in the tissue after infection, they were only later detectable in the blood. Accordingly, antiretroviral drug therapy (ART) can slow down the virus multiplication in the body - but since the pathogens could survive in the reservoirs for years, they would spread again immediately after the end of treatment.

Antiretroviral therapy can initially reduce the amount of viruses in the blood. For these findings, the scientists had infected rhesus monkeys with the Simian immunodeficiency virus (SI virus), a retrovirus that is considered to be the original virus for the HI virus and, according to the latest research, appears to already be has been found among monkeys for millennia. Although the virus was not yet detectable in the blood, some of the animals received antiretroviral therapy as early as the third day, the other animals only seven, ten or 14 days after the infection. The treatment was carried out over six months, which enabled the researchers to reduce the amount of viruses in the blood in all monkeys below the detection limit of six RNA copies per milliliter of blood plasma.

Relapse sets in later with early treated monkeys But the "healing" did not last long, because after the treatment was stopped, the number of pathogens rose again in all animals. Noticeable: The relapse of the monkeys treated from day 3 started somewhat later than that of the others, which the researchers believe could be due to the fact that the inactive viruses in the mucosal tissue and in the lymphatic tissue could persist: “These data show that the virus reservoir continues intrarectal SIV infection of rhesus monkeys is quickly established, even during the "Eclipse" phase and before the presence of viruses in the blood, "write the researchers in the journal" Nature "." However, it remains unclear when and where the virus reservoir is located acute infection and to what extent it is susceptible to early antiretroviral therapy (ART), ”the scientists continued.

Important new challenges for strategies to combat HIV-1 This could possibly also explain the reappearance of the HI viruses in the so-called “Mississippi baby”. In this case, an HIV-infected baby in the United States was initially cured as a function after intensive therapy was initiated extremely early. But after two years without medication and in which no viruses could be detected in the girl's body, the pathogen suddenly returned a few days ago. According to the scientists, the results could be regarded as sobering in the fight against the HI virus - even if the SI and HI viruses were clearly different and the animals were also infected with a high dose. "This remarkably early formation of pathogen reservoirs represents important new challenges for strategies to combat HIV-1," the researchers continued. (No)

Image: Kai Stachowiak / pixelio.de

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