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December 18, 2009

New Insight Into Selective Binding Properties of Infectious HIV

"The lead investigators, Dr. Zoltan Beck and Dr. Carl Alving, researchers with MHRP in the Division of Retrovirology, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR), explain that the data show that although infectious HIV-1 virus particles that bind to red blood cells comprise only a small amount, perhaps as little as a mean of 2.3% of a typical HIV-1 preparation, erythrocyte-bound HIV-1 is then approximately 100-fold more infectious than free (non-cell-bound) HIV-1 for infection of target cells.

"The study concludes that infectious virions constitute only a small fraction of a typical HIV-1 preparation and that, in a laboratory setting, all of the infectious virions can bind to red blood cells and other non-permissive cells (i.e., cells that cannot be infected). ...

"Dr. Beck adds, 'This study suggests that erythrocytes [red blood cells] might serve as an important, and perhaps hidden, reservoir for infectious HIV-1 virions.'"

Read more in ScienceDaily, December 15, 2009.