Biologists have learned to «calculate» the cells where HIV hides

© Illustration RIA Novosti . Alina Polymineralic learned to identify which cells hiding HIVBiologists have learned to «calculate» the cells where HIV hides© Illustration RIA Novosti . Alina Polyanina

Biologists from the United States took a big step toward eliminating the humankind from HIV by opening a gene that is activated in human cells only when they present sleep immunodeficiency virus, according to a paper published in the journal Nature Medicine.

«Today, all scientists of the world work on one goal – finding ways to «clean up» all traces of HIV from the body and rid the individual from infection. All of these efforts, on the other hand, will be useless if we do not have techniques that allow to understand, whether really the HIV has been completely removed from your body,» said Falguni Gupta (Phalguni Gupta) from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia (USA).

Today, HIV patients can live for tens of years, thanks to antiretroviral drugs – substances that suppress various steps of viral replication in the cells of the body. As they often have strong side effects, doctors are often forced to stop taking them for a few weeks.

At the termination of their reception of HIV «gets out of the trenches» and starts to rapidly replicate itself, often returning to the initial extent of disease for three or two weeks. In recent years, scientists are actively trying to find drugs or antibodies that would help to avoid such «counterattacks» of the virus, or would «kick» the virus out of the cells.

As Gupta says, even a small number of «wrong» cells of the immune system, or organs of the body, which HIV has infected by mistake, enough to revive the infection and to return it to previous levels after cessation of treatment. Search for them in the past was extremely difficult, as «sleeping» HIV does not issue them and the infected cells behave normally while taking antiretroviral drugs.

Gupta and his colleagues found a solution to this problem, observing how full and defective HIV particles penetrate into cancer cells and change their work in the presence and in the absence of immune cells. It turned out that human cells infected with HIV, have one unique feature – they produce in large quantity beta galaxies, an enzyme used by the virus to build its shell.

Normal cells do not produce these molecules, as the gene responsible for their production, «inserted» into the DNA of human and has no analogues in the human genome. Accordingly, the presence or the molecules of the enzyme, or as manufactured sugars allows virtually 100% certainty to say that in a cage hiding HIV.

The first attempts to use this technique for analyzing the blood of HIV patients has led to extremely unexpected results. According to Gupta, biologists used to think that HIV spreads in a relatively small number of «wrong» cells, infecting about ten of them for every billion «correct» infection immune cells.

«It turned out that the reservoir of HIV in the body of patients on antiretroviral therapy, much more than we believed – such cells 70 times more than shown by other types of tests,» continues Gupta.

Similar results, as scientists believe, can you explain how HIV is possible to quickly recover the lost «gains» after cessation of medication. This discovery, as I think Gupta and his colleagues, to help doctors quickly find a way to clean the body of «sleeping» HIV and the methods that the biologists called TZA, now can be used in clinical practice to assess how long the patient can hold without taking drugs, without severe harm to the body.