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Researchers in Israel and Kenya have shown that the contribution of variable degrees of immune suppression, either due to existing chronic infections such as parasitemias and/or nutrition, in different populations may influence and prolong the serological-diagnostic window period of HIV. However, the immunosuppression can be overcome, by in-vitro enhancement of antibody production (termed- Stimmunology). The results, which appear in the August 2009 issue of Experimental Biology and Medicine, show that pre-treating the whole blood sample in the SMARTube containing immune potentiating agents promoted the synthesis and release of antibodies against HIV-1 prior to their detection in corresponding plasma samples in a group of donors who would otherwise be classified as HIV-1 seronegative blood donors. The identification of techniques that can lead to detection of HIV infection during this window period is of obvious public health importance especially in resource poor settings highlighting the importance of these findings. Overcoming the suppression, in-vitro, led to the production of detectable levels of anti-HIV antibodies in the whole blood sample and to the detection of potentially infectious blood units which were missed by regular HIV serology. Interestingly, the ratio of missed infections among the total HIV infected blood donors was higher among the younger (high-school) donors versus adult donors.
The research team, Dr. Jasper Mumo, immunologist from the Department of Human Pathology, University of Nairobi, Kenya, Dr. Ami Vansover, head of the Virology Laboratory, Public Health Laboratories, Ministry of Health, Israel, and Dr. Tamar Jehuda-Cohen, an immunologist, Faculty of Biomedical Engineering, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, ran the same HIV antibody tests using both regular plasma
|Contact: Tamar Jehuda Cohen|
Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine