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Gorilla Origins of the Last Two AIDS Virus Lineages Confirmed

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Two of the four known groups of human AIDS viruses (HIV-1 groups O and P) have originated in western lowland gorillas, according to an international team of scientists.

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Research Captures Transient Details of HIV Genome Packaging

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Once HIV-1 has hijacked a host cell to make copies of its own RNA genome and viral proteins, it must assemble these components into new virus particles. The orchestration of this intricate assembly process falls to a viral protein known as Gag. For one thing, Gag must be able to discern viral RNA from the host cell’s and squirrel it away inside new viral particles — no easy task considering only two to three percent of the RNA found in the cytoplasm is from HIV-1. Exactly how Gag selectively packages viral RNA has been widely speculated but never directly observed.

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Scripps Research Institute Scientists Announce Anti-HIV Agent So Powerful It Can Work in a Vaccine

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In a remarkable new advance against the virus that causes AIDS, scientists from The Scripps Research Institute have announced the creation of a novel drug candidate so potent and universally effective, it might work as part of an unconventional vaccine.

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Immune Biomarkers Help Predict Early Death, Complications in HIV Patients with TB

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Reporting in a new study published online this week in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, researchers under the Botswana-UPenn Partnership at the University of Pennsylvania, including Shruthi Ravimohan, PhD, a research associate in the division of Infectious Diseases at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine, and Gregory P. Bisson, MD, MSCE, an assistant professor in the division of Infectious Diseases, have identified immune biomarkers in HIV/TB patients before they begin ART that could help distinguish who goes on to develop IRIS or die after treatment.

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Smartphone, Finger Prick, 15 Minutes, Diagnosis—Done!

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Columbia Engineering Professor Samuel Sia has developed a low-cost smartphone accessory that can perform a point-of-care test that simultaneously detects three infectious disease markers—HIV and syphilis—from a finger prick of blood in just 15 minutes. The device replicates, for the first time, all mechanical, optical, and electronic functions of a lab-based blood test without requiring any stored energy: all necessary power is drawn from the smartphone. February 4, Science Translational Medicine.

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Researchers Identify Key Mechanisms Underlying HIV-Associated Cognitive Disorders

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New findings, published today by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, open the door to the development of new therapies to block or decrease cognitive decline due to HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND), estimated to affect 10 to 50 percent of aging HIV sufferers to some degree.

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Hepatitis C More Prevalent Than HIV/AIDS or Ebola Yet Lacks Equal Attention

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One of the global regions highly affected by hepatitis C is West Africa. In developed countries, hepatitis C, a blood-borne disease, is transmitted through intravenous (IV) drug use. “In West Africa, we believe that there are many transmission modes and they are not through IV drug use, but through cultural and every day practices,” says Jennifer Layden, MD, PhD principal investigator on a study recently published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

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Latent HIV May Lurk in ‘Quiet’ Immune Cells, Research Suggests

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Drugs for HIV have become adept at suppressing infection, but they still can’t eliminate it. That’s because the medication in these pills doesn’t touch the virus’ hidden reserves, which lie dormant within infected white blood cells. Unlock the secrets of this pool of latent virus, scientists believe, and it may become possible to cure – not just control – HIV.

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Long-Acting Drug Effectively Prevents HIV-Like Infection in Monkeys

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A regime of anti-HIV drugs — components of regimens to treat established HIV infection — has the potential to protect against infection in the first place. But real life can interfere; the effectiveness of this prophylactic approach declines if the medications aren’t taken as prescribed.

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Human Mode Of Responding To HIV Vaccine Is Conserved From Monkeys

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The antibody response from an HIV vaccine trial in Thailand was made possible by a genetic trait carried over in humans from an ancient ancestry with monkeys and apes, according to a study led by Duke Medicine researchers.