Novel computational model describes the speed at which HIV escapes the immune response

Jul 18, 2008

Researchers from Utrecht University, The Netherlands, have developed a model that illustrates how HIV evades the immune system. The study, published July 18th in the open-access journal PLoS Computational Biology, incorporates detailed interactions between a mutating virus and the immune system.

HIV avoids recognition by the human immune response through the generation of viral variants called "escape mutants". This avoidance seems to thwart effective control of virus replication, causing HIV-infected patients to progress to AIDS. However, it remains difficult to fully understand the dynamics of immune escape, as data from infected patients is relatively sparse.

Knowing this, Drs. Christian Althaus and Rob De Boer performed computer simulations to help interpret longitudinal data derived from HIV-infected patients. They illustrate that the virus often evades the immune response very slowly, on a timescale of years. Depending on the diversity of the immune system, the virus will either be controlled effectively or accumulate detrimental mutations. The results suggest an alternative strategy of vaccine design could be to reduce the replicative capacity of the virus.

Citation: Althaus CL, De Boer RJ (2008) Dynamics of Immune Escape during HIV/SIV Infection. PLoS Comput Biol 4(7): e1000103. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000103

Source: Public Library of Science

Explore further: Full-annual-cycle models track migratory bird populations throughout the year

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Pleurobot is salamander-like robot with lifelike motion

8 hours ago

A video showing "multimodal locomotion in a bioinspired robot" has been making the rounds, and the video demonstrates advances in robotics as scientific tools as well as potential robots for search and rescue ...

Recommended for you

Activating genes on demand

8 hours ago

When it comes to gene expression - the process by which our DNA provides the recipe used to direct the synthesis of proteins and other molecules that we need for development and survival - scientists have ...

Metabolic path to improved biofuel production

9 hours ago

Researchers with the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI), a partnership that includes the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California (UC) Berkeley, have found a way ...

Deadly frog fungus dates back to 1880s, studies find

11 hours ago

A deadly fungus responsible for the extinction of more than 200 amphibian species worldwide has coexisted harmlessly with animals in Illinois and Korea for more than a century, a pair of studies have found.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.