Not many people know that there are different strains or types of HIV. HIV-1 strain is more aggressive and can be found all over the world, while HIV-2 strains are more common in West Africa and has started to be found in Europe, India, Japan and the United States.
A team of researchers from Lund University in Sweden found that people with AIDS who are infected with HIV-2 virus strain followed by HIV-1 infection appeared to have a better ability to fight the disease.
In a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the researchers monitored 4,700 people in a country in Africa, namely Guinea-Bissau for 20 years. Monitoring focused on 223 people who were initially infected with HIV-2 strain and infected by HIV-1 strains, and compared with those only infected with HIV-1 strains.
The goal is to find out what factors differentiate between these two HIV strains. Is there something in the HIV-2 virus that is less damaging for the human immune defense system? Or is there another mechanism in the human body itself?
The researchers were surprised to find that in people who have been infected with HIV-1 only, the results found that the condition developed into full blown AIDS in less than 68 months. Full blown AIDS is a condition in which the immune system is completely paralyzed and the patient is very prone to various kinds of diseases.
Strangely, the people infected with HIV-2, followed by HIV-1, their condition deteriorated into full blown AIDS within an average of 104 months. The time is about 50 percent longer than those infected with HIV-1 alone.
“The Effect of HIV-2 is so strong that it takes time to develop AIDS about 50 percent longer in those infected with both strains than those only infected with HIV-1 strains. This huge difference makes me very optimistic that these findings will allow the identification of new approaches that can be taken to combat the progression of AIDS, “said researcher, Joakim Esbjörnsson, virologist at the University of Lund as reported MedicalNewsToday.com.
Scientists have known that HIV genetic varieties emerged when it infects its host. The less the genetic variation, the sooner the patient experience symptoms of AIDS. The researchers also studied the T-cells, which are cells in the immune system attacked by the HIV virus.
In the T-cells, there are molecules called CD4 and CD8. CD8 molecule is a killer molecule in charge of fighting cancer and viruses. While CD4 is more commonly used by HIV to replicate and multiply.
Participants infected with HIV-2 infection before HIV-1 has a longer time to develop AIDS as the CD4 molecule in immune cells is low. But researchers also stressed that people infected with HIV-1 should not seek HIV-2 strain in any way.Tagged with: fight HIV, Hiv, HIV straine,