MadSci Network: Immunology

Re: Why do AIDS patients deteriorate even though they have the HIV antibodies?

Date: Tue Feb 2 15:52:03 1999
Posted By: Peter Burrows, Faculty, Microbiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Area of science: Immunology
ID: 916473719.Im

There are several reasons why AIDS patients deteriorate even though they 
have antibodies to HIV.  1. An individual can make many different 
antibodies to different components of the virus.  The most important 
antibodies are those that neutralize the virus, preventing its entry into 
other uninfected cells.  Because of the way it replicates, HIV can rapidly 
mutate to escape neutralization by these antibodies. 2. With AIDS there is 
a progressive decline in T lymphocytes, which are needed for all aspects 
of an immune response, including production of antibodies to new variants 
of HIV.  3. Once it gets inside a cell, the virus is safe from any direct 
attack by antibodies. 

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