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HIV infection stems from few viruses
Date:5/16/2008

searchers then used sophisticated mathematical models of HIV replication and genetic change to identify the virus or viruses responsible for transmission. In 80 percent of the newly infected patients, a single virus caused transmission, though each virus was different in each patient. In the other 20 percent of patients, two to five unique viruses caused transmission.

Previously, researchers employed inexact methodologies that prevented precise identification of the virus that initiated infection, said Brandon Keele, Ph.D., an instructor in UABs Department of Medicine and lead study investigator. Our findings allow us to identify not only the transmitted virus, but also viruses that evolve from it.

The UAB team said their work would lead to new research on how different HIV genes and proteins work together to make a virus biologically fit for transmission and for growth in the face of mounting immunity.

Statistics show that while the worldwide percentage of people infected with HIV has leveled off, the total number HIV cases is rising. In 2007, 33.2 million people were estimated to be living with HIV, 2.5 million people became newly infected and 2.1 million people died from AIDS, according to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the World Health Organization.


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Contact: Troy Goodman
tdgoodman@uab.edu
205-934-8938
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Source:Eurekalert

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