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human immunodeficiency virus, either of two closely related retrovirusesretrovirus,
type of RNA virus that, unlike other RNA viruses, reproduces by transcribing itself into DNA. An enzyme called reverse transcriptase allows a retrovirus's RNA to act as the template for this RNA-to-DNA transcription.
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 that invade T-helper lymphocytes and are responsible for AIDSAIDS
or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome,
fatal disease caused by a rapidly mutating retrovirus that attacks the immune system and leaves the victim vulnerable to infections, malignancies, and neurological disorders. It was first recognized as a disease in 1981.
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. There are two types of HIV: HIV-1 and HIV-2. HIV-1 is responsible for the vast majority of AIDS in the United States. HIV-2, seen more often in western Africa, has a slower course than HIV-1. There are many strains of both types and the virus mutates rapidly, a trait that has made it especially difficult for researchers to find an effective treatment or vaccine. In many cases, a person's immune system will fight off the invasion of HIV for many years, producing billions of CD4 cells daily, always trying to keep up with the HIV's mutations, before it succumbs and permits the well-known signs of AIDS to develop.

HIV is especially lethal because it attacks the very immune system cells (variously called T4, CD4, or T-helper lymphocytes) that would ordinarily fight off such a viral infection. Receptors on these cells appear to enable the viral RNA to enter the cell. As with all retroviruses, once the RNA is inside the cell, an enzyme called reverse transcriptase allows it to act as the template for its own RNA to DNA transcription. The resultant viral DNA inserts itself into a cell's DNA and is reproduced along with the cell and its daughters. In 2012 the Food and Drug Administration approved a pill that combines two antiretroviral drugs, tenofovir and emtricitabine, for use in preventing infection with HIV, and two years later the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called for the drug combination to be prescribed to uninfected patients who are at risk for AIDS in an effort to reduce number of new HIV infections.

The exact origin of the virus in humans is unclear. Scientists surmise that HIV-1 jumped from African chimpanzees, who harbor a similar strain of SIV (simian immunodeficiency virus), to humans via the butchering of meat or an animal bite. The first case documented in humans dates from 1959, but genetic analysis published in 2008 estimated that it originated some time between 1884 and 1924. A 2014 analysis suggested that the most widespread form of HIV-1 in humans originated in 1920s in what was then the Belgian Congo. AIDS is believed to have spread to the Caribbean in the 1960s and the United States in the early 1970s. The virus was isolated by Luc MontagnierMontagnier, Luc Antoine,
1932–, French virologist, M.D. Sorbonne, 1960. Montagnier was a researcher at the Medical Research Council at Carshalton, London (1960–63), the Institute of Virology in Glasgow, Scotland (1963–65), and the Curie Institute in Orsay,
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 of France's Pasteur Institute in 1983. It went through several name changes before the official name, human immunodeficiency virus, was agreed upon.


References in periodicals archive ?
With EIA procedures for the detection of HIV antigens in biological samples, ______ are coated onto a solid surface for use as a capture molecule.
A careful examination of evolving antibody affi nity to various HIV antigens may provide a basis for developing new assays using affinity parameters.
HUFF: Researchers are now looking at CD4 [T cell] response to HIV antigens using certain blood assays that can [measure] such responses.
3, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Abbott today announced it has received a 2010 Chicago Innovation Award for its ARCHITECT HIV Ag/Ab Combo assay, the first test approved in the United States that can simultaneously detect both HIV antigens and antibodies.
Argos recently reported interim data from the Phase 2a trial, demonstrating viral load control in the absence of antiretroviral therapy and robust immune responses to a diverse set of HIV antigens.
Since the test detects both HIV antigens and antibodies, Abbott's test can identify infection days earlier than other antibody-only tests currently used in the United States.
Upon approval, the assay is expected to be the first test available in the United States to simultaneously detect the combined presence of HIV antigens (proteins produced by the HIV virus) and antibodies (proteins produced by the body to fight HIV antigens), which would allow for the early detection and ongoing monitoring of the virus.
Our novel nanomedicine vaccine, DermaVir, is a single plasmid-DNA that expresses most HIV antigens and forms virus-like particles," commented Julianna Lisziewicz, PhD and CEO of Genetic Immunity.
CHICAGO, July 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Research presented today at the American Association for Clinical Chemistry annual meeting shows that an assay developed by Abbott for simultaneous detection of both HIV antigens and antibodies reduced the detection window by zero to nine days in this study compared to HIV antibody-only assays.
says: "Our studies have shown that low dose (1mg) intradermal Bioject DNA injections induce stronger and broader priming to HIV antigens than 'standard' (4mg) intramuscular priming.
Moreover, immunological analyses performed on blood samples taken from the volunteers reveal that electroporation improved the frequency, magnitude, breadth and duration of the cellular immune responses to HIV antigens encoded by the vaccine.
VIRxSYS presented initial mouse and primate data from the study of VRX1023, a new vaccine approach that uses a lentiviral vector expressing HIV antigens.