HIV Spreads Through Free-floating Virus Vs Host Immune Cells – Research

HIV Spreads Through Free-floating Virus Vs Host Immune Cells – Research
HIV-infected T cell NIAID / Flickr CC BY 2.0

Researchers around the world are working rigorously for decades to bring a cure for AIDS. Many new strategies and drugs leading to the treatment of AIDS are developed lately and a few are very promising.


Researchers from Gladstone Institutes report that HIV infection in the body could be caused either by free-floating virus affecting host immune cells or the HIV-infected human immune cells passing viruses to the uninfected cells. They also noted that cell-to-cell transformation of virus would cause AIDS 100 to 1000 times more efficiently than free floating viruses.

Nicole Galloway, co-author of the study and a post-doctoral fellow at the Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology, noted that “Although free-floating viruses establish the initial infection, it is the subsequent cell-to-cell spread of HIV that causes massive CD4 T cell death,” reported Medical Xpress. Galloway added that “Cell-to-cell transmission of HIV is absolutely required for activation of the pathogenic HIV cell-death pathway.”

Dr Warner C. Greene, author of the study and director of the Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology, said that progression of HIV infection to AIDS could be blocked by cell to cell transformation of HIV in the body.

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Meanwhile Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) have come up with a significant discovery by establishing the relationship between Leukemia and HIV. The researchers noted that this breakthrough could be holding keys for developing effective treatment for prevention and destruction of viruses, reported Jewish Business News.

Dr. Ran Taube, of BGU’s Shraga Segal Department of Microbiology and Immunology, said that when HIV reaches chronic states, its reproduction mechanisms interfere with the gene expression related to STEM cells.

Taube said, “This research is based on the assumption that damage to the mechanisms of expression and reproduction of the viral genome is responsible for the accumulation of the latent HIV virus and leads to the chronic disease condition.”

The researcher also added, “Until now, the medical community researchers had very limited information on the existence of a connection between AIDS, caused by the HIV virus, and a rare blood cancer, known as Mixed Lineage Leukemia (MLL).”