HIV Hitches a Ride

The statistics are grim: More than 34 million people worldwide affected with HIV/AIDS, and 800,000- 900,000 cases in the United States with a steady rate of 40,000 new HIV infections each year. Fueled by such statistics, HIV research continues with scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) recently discovering a mechanism providing insight into the pathogenesis of the virus in which HIV may hitch a ride from select cells to target cells. Researchers report that B cells, the antibody-producing cells of the immune system, can likely deliver HIV to immune system T cells, those essential for a vigorous immune response (S. Moir et al., "B cells of HIV-1-infected patients bind virions through CD21-complement interactions and transmit infectious virus to activated T cells," Journal of Experimental Medicine, 192:637-45, Sept. 5, 2000). HIV devastates the body's ability to fight off infection by destroying...

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