The flavivirus GB virus C (also designated hepatitis G virus) was identified in a search for hepatitis viruses, but no disease is currently known to be associated with it. Two reports in September 6 New England Journal of Medicine suggest that infection with the GB virus C improves survival in patients infected with HIV by directly influencing HIV replication.

Jinhua Xiang and colleagues, from the University of Iowa College of Medicine, examined the effect of coinfection with GBV-C on the survival of patients with HIV infection. They found that the mortality among the 218 HIV-infected patients without GBV-C coinfection was significantly higher than that among the 144 patients with GBV-C coinfection. In addition, HIV replication was inhibited in cultures of peripheral-blood mononuclear cells by GBV-C coinfection (N Engl J Med 2001, 345:707-714).

In a separate study, Hans Tillmann and co-workers from Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, followed prospectively 197...

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