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Virus Suppressing Drugs for HIV Patients:

  • Uncategorized
  • Jul 28, 2021

Research suggests that chronic viral infections and aging have a similar profound and long-lasting impact on the immune system.  Using the immune system and artificial intelligence, the researchers created a profile and compared immune responses in a cohort of the elderly, people with HIV on antiretroviral therapy, and people infected with hepatitis C before and after treatment of the virus with a drug with a cure rate of up to 97%. Common changes in the immune system include inflation of T-cell memory, upregulation of intracellular signaling pathways for inflammation, and decreased sensitivity to cytokines in lymphocytes and myeloid cells. David Furman, PhD, associate professor at the Buck Institute and lead author of the study informed that, chronic inflammation due to immune system dysfunction is linked to many aging diseases.  At this point, it is clear that aging, as well as chronic viral infections, leave deep and indelible marks on immunity.

In acute viral infections, the body is usually able to eliminate the pathogen and the immune system produces (at best) antibodies that protect against similar infections such as the colds and the seasonal flu. Furman also informs that, based on geographic constraints, 70-90% of the population are infected with the cytomegalovirus, which is harmless in healthy people and only problematic for pregnant women or those with weakened immune systems. Various herpes viruses which cause genital herpes, cold sores, chickenpox, and mononucleosis can also cause chronic infections.

Additionally, every human possesses their own set of viroms, which is a collection of viral infections. Human body casually consists of 12 to 15 viruses.  Fortunately, there is now technology that allows us to profile these infections in the human population. This study is the first to fully embrace the concept of systems immunology and comprehensively analyze the immune system in different patient cohorts using the same technology platforms.

The study showed that despite more than ten years of treatment with virus-suppressing drugs in HIV patients, dysregulation of the immune system occurred, but the elimination of the HCV virus partially restored cellular sensitivity.