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Drug-Resistant HIV Can Persist

Drug-Resistant HIV Can Persist

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Drug-resistant strains of HIV can remain in latently infected immune system cells for at least five years in patients who have suppressed blood-based viral levels through highly active antiretroviral therapy, Belgian researchers reported in the April 15 edition of Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. Study authors examined HIV DNA in samples of peripheral blood mononuclear cells of 11 HIV-positive AIDS clinic patients who had previously developed drug-resistant virus. In nine of 11 cases both drug-resistant and wild-type HIV DNA was found in the reservoir cells'and the drug-resistant virus in the reservoirs had the same genetic resistance mutations as virus found in the patients' blood samples taken before HAART was started. Researchers suggest that the maintenance of the viral reservoir is an ongoing process and that drug-resistant virus that is able to replicate only for a short period of time in the blood can be archived for much longer periods in cellular reservoirs.

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