MadSci Network: Virology

Re: How does the two mforms of HIV differ(HIV-1,HIV-2)? Are there any others?

Area: Virology
Posted By: Rolf Marteijn, Grad Student, dept of Foodscience -> Bioprocesengineering and dept. of Virology, Wageningen Agricultural University
Date: Mon Apr 28 20:27:52 1997
Area of science: Virology
ID: 859204434.Vi

Hi Josef, The Human Immunodeficiency virus is a virus which mutates a lot. This high mutation rate has two causes. First of all, it is an RNA virus which must be translated into DNA. In this step about 1 in 2000 bases is wrongly translated. In infected persons it is also around for many years (about 10) before it really results in AIDS. During this time the virus is not 'asleep' (latent) but fighting with the immune system. It is copied many times during the 10 years and as you can imagine, may different 'subclasses' arise in this one infected person.

These mutations may result in resistance to the various drugs that are around. To become resistant to the new protease inhibitors (PI's), only 10 mutations in specific places are needed. Resistance to AZT and the like occurs even faster, and the virus can be resistant in about 3 months (!).

The difference between HIV-1 and HIV-2 is quite big. HIV-2 is more related to the Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) of monkeys then to HIV-1.

HIV-1 is subdivided in several different classes. There are several ways to differentiate between these classes, by their reaction with antibodies or by their RNA-sequence. However, the differences within HIV-1 are smaller then the differences between HIV-1 and HIV-2.

A link: description of the retrovirus family

Hope this answers your question,



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