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NIH grant supports UCSF research exploring early HIV infection
Date:10/8/2007

nts that have resistance mutations caused by exposure to antiretrovirals. Understanding how easily these mutations occur and how long they persist is important for long-term forecasting of the effectiveness of antiretroviral regimens in populations.

The other types of resistance mutations are those that allow the virus to escape an infected patients specific T-cell immune responses. HIV mutates constantly, thereby escaping attack from the bodys targeted T-cell defenses that are meant to kill the virus, and eventually eludes effective control in most individuals. Understanding this process could assist in vaccine development.

A second project, led by Steven Deeks, MD, of the Positive Health Program, examines properties of the outside of the HIV virusthe envelopeand how they influence HIV transmission and evolve in a newly infected individual after transmission. These envelope properties determine which cells most easily will succumb to infection with the virus. In addition, the envelope properties of HIV may affect the viruss capacity to damage the immune system and determine how readily it is transmitted.

A third project, led by the UCSF-affiliated Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunologys Robert Grant, MD, MPH, is focused on superinfection, which is infection with a second HIV virus on top of a preexisting infection. The project will study how readily this occurs in early HIV infectionwhich appears to be the most vulnerable period for superinfectionand what factors may prevent it.

The fourth project, led by Douglas Nixon, MD, PhD, of the UCSF Division of Experimental Medicine, tests whether new immune responses, following HIV transmission to a newly infected patient, help to reverse some of the mutations that allowed the virus to escape immune responses in the HIV-individual who transmitted the virus.
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Contact: Jeff Sheehy
jsheehy@ari.ucsf.edu
415-597-8165
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert

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