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Inactivated HIV Persisting In Patients’ Cells Can Be Measured With Accuracy

Scientists can now rapidly and precisely analyze the presence of an inactive form of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) inside patients’ cells. This edition of HIV releases its genome into the patients’ cells, from there the HIV genome gets incorporated into cells’ genomes and can persist even for years and suddenly gets activated. A lot of attempts have been made yet to cure the infection.

Robert Siliciano—investigator of Howard Hughes Medical Institute—along with the colleagues has developed an innovative genetic technique, which could measure the extent of viral form persisting in the body in an inactivated form.

Previous methods and techniques overrated the presence of this HIV form by 10 to 100 times. However, based on the experimental therapies, the expected number is significantly low than the previous estimations. The report is recently published in the journal Nature.

Current therapy involves the inhibition of HIV lifecycle at specific stages with the help of a combination of antiretroviral drugs. This inhibition would prevent HIV virus to replicate, and gradually the presence of virus in the bloodstream goes on decreasing, reaching below detection levels. But the virus may adhere to the internal body tissues in a dormant form, which is quite difficult to detect.

However, HIV selectively targets the immune system by infecting CD4 cells. These cells become dormant and act as a memory reservoir comprising information about known infectious agents. Even with the ability of persistence, they can unintentionally defend the commands for generating HIV. Once the cells get activated, the viral genomes begin to replicate and release multiple copies of the HIV virus. So, HIV infected patients would have to totally depend on antiretroviral therapy throughout life, or until any researcher can develop some effective technique or therapy to destroy the inactivated form of HIV.