Despite treatment HIV grows silently
HIV can continue to grow in patients who think they are responding well to treatment, according to research from the University of Liverpool.
During the treatment of the HIV virus it is hidden in the blood cells called CD4 T lymphocytes that are responsible for the patient's immune response, inserting their own genetic information into the DNA of the CD4 cells.
A study conducted by the University of the Infection Institute and Global Health measuring the levels of HIV integrated into the CD4 cells of patients undergoing uninterrupted treatment for up to 14 years, thus comparing patients who received treatment for different lengths of time. The researchers found that the amount of HIV was found and integrated into the CD4 cells was not decreased at all since p 1 year of treatment even in patients with a treatment window up to 14 years.
Research shows that whenever a CD4 cell multiplies in order to produce more cells, it makes a copy of itself and also copies the HIV genes. This process - a kind of silent replication of HIV, means the virus does not need to copy itself, produce new virus particles and infect new CD4 cells - but is automatically incorporated at the time of the birth of the newly created cell.
Antiretroviral Therapy is given to HIV patients to stop the production of new viruses that prevent infection and death of CD4 T lymphocytes and the progression of the disease.
Advances in antiretroviral therapy over the past 30 years, mean that most patients can have their virus suppressed to undetectable levels and live a long and healthy life. It was thought that after many years of successful treatment the body would be able to purge itself of the virus.
Hard to suppress
Professor Anna Maria Geretti, who led the study, said: "This research demonstrates that, unfortunately, the HIV virus has found another way to escape our treatments.
"We always knew HIV is difficult to suppress completely, and that it lurks inside CD4 cells, but we always expected the body to gradually renew its CD4 cells and then HIV would have a hidden death. We were surprised to find that the levels of HIV integrated into CD4 cells are not reduced even over a period of 14 years.
"The good news is that we do not see any worsening over time; unfortunately the bad news is that these findings really cast doubt on the question of whether HIV can be "cured" simply by improving immune responses against it - a strategy that now seems doomed to fail. "
The results are published in the journal Biomedicine.Translated from original HIV grows Despite treatment, study finds by Claudio Souza.
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