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Researchers’ Discovery Adds Insight into HIV-Infection Mechanisms

Posted on August 15, 2016 by Disability Help Group

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates approximately 1.2 million people are living with an active HIV status.

Treatments and preventions for HIV transmission have come a long way since the discovery of the virus. Pre-exposure measures exist to help reduce the risk of infection after contact with an HIV-positive person, and treatments are helping HIV-positive patients slow disease progression and live healthier lives.

Throughout these medical advances in HIV care and prevention, one mechanism of HIV infection has eluded scientists.

While research has determined how HIV-positive individuals transmit the disease as well as how it takes over the host cells to spread, it has been unclear as to how the virus synthesized its RNA into infectious DNA.

How does the virus synthesize?

A new study, published in Nature, may have revealed a new mechanism of the virus. The outer shell of the virus known as the capsid contains pores that can open and close like an eyelid. When the pores open and close rapidly, they take in the nucleotides necessary to turn its RNA into infectious DNA.

With this discovery, the researchers from the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge and the University College London were able to develop a molecule to inhibit the pores and prevent nucleotide intake.

This action effectively stops the virus from replicating and renders it noninfectious. Because the molecule cannot enter human cells, researchers cannot use it to treat existing infections. However, it is a step toward developing new medications that allow entry into infected human cells and eradication of the virus.

Immune-compromising Conditions Can Make You Unable to Work

Any immune deficiency that puts you at a greater risk of serious illnesses such as pneumonia and MRSA can render you unable to work. When your compromised immune system causes you to leave your career behind, Social Security disability benefits might apply to your situation.

The Disability Help Group helps disabled individuals seek benefits. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation: 800-800-2009.