Immune Deficiency: Usual Disease Predictions for HIV

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Immune Deficiency: Usual Disease Predictions for HIV
Immune Deficiency: Usual Disease Predictions for HIV

Usual disease predictions for HIV-infected people are inaccurate

According to a large-scale study, the previous method of counting the HI viruses in a patient's body to determine their ability to fight off the immune deficiency AIDS is not reliable. Contrary to what was previously assumed, there is only a slight connection between an increased number of HI viruses and a simultaneous loss of the body's own CD4 cells. The disappearance of these white blood cells ultimately paves the way for numerous immunodeficiency disorders, thereby triggering AIDS.

In a study involving a total of 2,800 HIV patients who had not yet undergone any drug treatment, the team led by Benigno Rodríguez from the US University Hospitals Case Medical Center measured the number of CD4 cells and used them compared to the number of the HI virus load of the corresponding patients. The scientists found that many patients had different numbers of CD4 cells in their bodies despite a similar HIV load in their blood. Ultimately, the physicians concluded that the loss of CD4 helper cells could only be explained to a good five percent by the number of viral loads.

In medical practice, the comparison of CD4 cell counts and HIV burden plays an important role in making decisions about how quickly the patient's immune system will be attacked by the virus and when to start antiretroviral treatment. The authors of the new study are calling for a rethink here, since the comparison alone cannot provide accurate predictions.

In the human body, the HI virus infects certain types of leukocytes that have a CD4 receptor on their surface. Since the number of these cells decreases over the course of the disease, it was previously assumed that there was a direct connection between the number of viruses and the loss of CD4 cells. Rather, Rodríguez and his colleagues now suspect that the HI virus attacks the human immune system in a more complex way than previously thought.

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