Saturday January 25, 2020

Computer Simulations can Predict HIV Spread

The researchers also plan to develop public health computational tools to help the agencies track the disease and allocate resources for targeted prevention campaigns

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HIV Aids
Computer simulations can also predict the spread of HIV: Study. Flickr

Researchers have found that computer simulations can accurately predict the transmission of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) across populations, aiding in preventing the disease.

The study, published in the journal Nature Microbiology, found that the simulations were consistent with actual DNA data obtained from a global public HIV database.

“We looked for special genetic patterns that we had seen in the simulations, and we can confirm that these patterns also hold for real data covering the entire epidemic,” said lead author Thomas Leitner from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the US.

HIV is particularly interesting to study in this manner as the virus mutates rapidly and constantly within each infected individual, the researcher said.

The changing “genetic signatures” of its code provide a path that can be followed in determining the origin and time frame of an infection, the study found.

HIV
For the study, the researchers used phylogenetic methods, examining evolutionary relationships in the virus’s genetic code to evaluate how HIV is transmitted. Pixabay

The rapid mutational capability of the virus is useful for the epidemiological sleuthing, but is also one of the features that makes it so difficult to tackle with a vaccine.

For the study, the researchers used phylogenetic methods, examining evolutionary relationships in the virus’s genetic code to evaluate how HIV is transmitted.

The research team found that certain phylogenetic “family tree” patterns correlated to the DNA data from 955 pairs of people, in which the transmitter and recipient of the virus were known.

Also Read: Every Three Minutes a Teenage Girl is Infected by HIV — UNICEF

“These HIV transmissions had known linkage based on epidemiological information such as partner studies, mother-to-child transmission, pairs identified by contact tracing, and criminal cases,” the researchers said.

The researchers also plan to develop public health computational tools to help the agencies track the disease and allocate resources for targeted prevention campaigns. (IANS)

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Here’s how HIV Patients Lose Immunity to Smallpox Despite of Vaccinations

HIV patients lose smallpox immunity despite vaccine says a new study by health experts

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HIV immune
The study found the immune systems of HIV-positive women who were on antiretroviral therapy had a limited response when their blood was exposed to the vaccina virus. Pixabay

HIV patients lose immunity to smallpox even though they were vaccinated against the disease as children and have had much of their immune system restored with anti-retroviral therapy, says a new study.

Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is the use of HIV medicines to treat HIV infection. It helps people with HIV live longer, healthier lives and reduces the risk of HIV transmission.

The study, published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases on HIV-associated immune amnesia could explain why people living with HIV still tend to have shorter lives on average than their HIV-negative counterparts despite being on antiretroviral therapy.

The study follows other research recently published in the journals Science and Science Immunology that found the immune systems of children who contracted measles similarly ‘forgot’ their immunity against other illnesses such as influenza.

Immune system
Researchers have found that HIV patients lose immunity to smallpox even though they were vaccinated against the disease. Pixabay

For the study, lead researcher Mark K. Slifka from Oregon Health and Science University in US, and his colleagues compared the T-cell and antibody responses of a total of 100 HIV-positive and HIV-negative women who were vaccinated against smallpox in their youth.

The research team chose smallpox because its last known US case was in 1949, meaning study participants haven’t recently been exposed to its virus, which would have triggered new T-cell and antibody responses.

They found the immune systems of HIV-positive women who were on antiretroviral therapy had a limited response when their blood was exposed to the vaccina virus, which is used in the smallpox vaccine.

Normally, those vaccinated against smallpox have CD4 T cells that remember the virus and respond in large numbers when they’re exposed again.

Previous research has shown smallpox virus-specific CD4 T cells are maintained for up to 75 years after vaccination.

This finding happened despite the fact that antiretroviral therapy works by boosting CD4 T cell counts in HIV-positive patients.

This indicates that while antiretroviral therapy may boost total T cell counts overall, it can’t recover virus-specific T cells generated from prior childhood vaccinations.

Also Read- HPV Vaccinations may Reduce Cervical Cancer Rate in Kenya

The research team plans to evaluate whether the same phenomenon occurs in HIV-infected men, and if people living with HIV also lose immune memory to other diseases.

Researchers from SUNY Downstate, Georgetown University, Cornell University, University of Southern California and John Hopkins University, also contributed to this study. (IANS)