Simian-Human Immunodeficiency Virus

  • In an interesting study, the immune system of monkeys was found capable of controlling HIV-like virus (Simian-Human Immunodeficiency Virus or SHIV) when treatment with a combination of two anti-HIV antibodies was started three days after infection.
  • The immune system of the animals was found to control the virus even after the anti-HIV antibodies were no longer present in the monkeys.

CD8+ T cells:

  • A particular kind of immune cells called CD8+ T cells were found to be higher in all the animals that were infected with the SHIV virus.
  • To ascertain if CD8+ T cells were responsible for mediating sustained suppression of virus replication, the researchers purposely depleted the CD8+ T cells in the six monkeys. What followed was a sharp increase in the viral load in all the animals.
  • This helped the researchers conclude that the CD8+ T cells controlled the virus multiplication following administration of the neutralising antibodies.
  • Though SHIV infection in macaque monkeys differs from HIV-1 infection in humans, the researchers suggest that immunotherapy should be explored to control the spread of virus, contain the damage to CD8+ T cells, mobilise a robust immune response, and control HIV infection in humans.

Source: The Hindu

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