Scientists Find Way To Pinpoint Hideout Of AIDS Virus

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On March 15, French scientists made an announcement that they had discovered a procedure to diagnose tricky white blood cells, which provide a hiding spot for the HIV-1 virus in humans consuming anti-HIV medications due to AIDS.

These sources of cells would perhaps be the most important factor to uproot AIDS and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes the condition.

The research helped find a way to understand the virus reservoirs better as revealed by France’s CNRS research institute, which took part in the study. It also added that over time, the discovery should help to create remedial strategies to destroy the dormant virus.  

Why HIV Does Not Have A Cure

No cure has been found or invented for HIV and those suffering need to consume virus-suppressing medications throughout their lives.

The reason for this adversity is a limited number of immune system cells which, are in a category of cells knows as CD4 T lymphocytes that provides shelter to the lethal virus. It allows the virus to develop and spread all over the body.

Details Of The Research

During the study, the researchers used the blood of several HIV patients and studied them by using a in vitro model.

They discovered a protein which was not present in healthy cells, dubbed “CD32a” on the external area of the reservoir cells affected by the virus.

Douglas Richman, AIDS researcher from the University of California San Diego, stated that these kinds of markers are very hard to spot.

An HIV infected human being has almost 200 billion CD4 T cells among which the number of virus reservoirs is only one in a million.

In an adult human, 5 liters of blood contains two percent of the body’s CD4 T cells, said Richman. So, 80 million CD4 T cells would be found in about a 100 milliliter blood sample and among those 80 million only around 80 would be virus reservoirs.

However, there is some speculation whether CD32a actively supports the deadly virus to hide in CD4 cells or not. If the answer is yes, then it is able to target medications and stop the furtive process.

According to the recommendation of Richman, CD32a is very rare to find and only about half CD4 T reservoir cells contain it. However, to eliminate the dormant HIV, a much larger proportion of the CD32a would be required.

He also added that, further study needs to be conducted to determine whether CD32a is appropriate for the CD4 T cells in the bone marrow, lymph nodes, gut and several other tissues which may consider as reservoirs.

The research has been published in the journal Nature.

Photo: Fiona Henderson | Flickr

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