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Thursday 3 August 2006
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AFRICA: HI virus plays hide and seek - study

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

JOHANNESBURG, 31 July (PLUSNEWS) - A team of US researchers have found that HIV is able to survive efforts to destroy it by concealing itself in the mucosal tissue of the human intestine.

According to scientists at the University of California, the HI virus continued to replicate in the gut mucosa, suppressing immune function in patients being treated with antiretroviral therapy even when blood samples from the same individuals indicated the treatment was working.

"This is the first longitudinal study to show that, while current therapy is successful in reducing viral loads [amount of HIV] and increasing T-cells [of the immune system] in peripheral blood, it is not so effective in gut mucosa," said senior author of the study, Prof Satya Dandekar.

She explained that the team had "found a substantial delay in the time it takes to restore the gut mucosal immune system in those with chronic infections ... [where] the gut is acting as a viral reservoir that keeps us from ridding patients of the virus".



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· AIDS Media Center
· The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria
· International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS
· International HIV/AIDS Alliance

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