HIV Replicates Faster Than Believed
BY HIV Plus Editors
November 19 2004 1:00 AM ET
Quick replication of HIV can begin when antiretrovirals are stopped, completing a full replication cycle within nine to 12 hours after protease inhibitor concentrations in the blood fall to suboptimal levels, researchers have reported. That time frame is less than half the previous estimate. Signs of intracellular replication can be detected within two hours after drug levels fall below therapeutic levels.
The researchers say their findings have 'important implications' for antiretroviral therapy, suggesting that even two-hour breaks in continuous pharmacological pressure against the virus can allow HIV replication to restart.
The study data highlight 'the absolute requirement of maintaining efficient levels of protease inhibitors in HIV-treated patients to control viral replication,' concludes lead researcher Jose Alcami of Spain's Instituto de Salud Carlos III.