A recent study has revealed that HIV spreads throughout the body in a way similar to some computer worm hence early treatment may be the key to treat AIDS.
The spread of HIV through the body using bloodstream and directly between cells follows the similar pattern as computer worms spread through both the internet and local networks respectively, to infect many computers, according to the HIV specialists and network security experts at University College London.
In order to observe the exact progression from HIV to AIDS in patients, they designed a new model for HIV progression.
For verifying the model, detailed sample data from 17 HIV patients from London was used which found that hybrid spreading provided the best explanation for HIV progression and pointed out the benefits of early treatment.
HIV infected CD4+ T-cells, which played a vital role in the immune system and protected people from diseases. With its progression, HIV reduced the number of active T-cells in the body, until the immune system could not function correctly, a state known as 'acquired immune deficiency syndrome' or AIDS.
With its progression, HIV reduces the number of active T-cells, which plays a vital role in the immune system and protects people from diseases, cells in the body, until the immune system could not function correctly, a state known as 'acquired immune deficiency syndrome' or AIDS.
Prof Benny Chain, from UCL's infection and immunity division, the co-senior author of the researchsaid, ““I was involved in a study looking in general at spreading of worms across the internet and then I realised the parallel. They have to consistently find another computer to infect outside. They can either look locally in their own networks, their own computers, or you could remotely transmit out a worm to every computer on the internet. HIV also uses two ways of spreading within the body.”
He added that if HIV had already spread to an area rich in T-cells by the time treatment begins, preventing its spread through the bloodstream would not stop AIDS
The model suggested that completely blocking cell-to-cell transfer would prevent progression to AIDS, highlighting the need to develop new treatments. However, the new model predicted that treatment should start as soon as possible after infection to prevent AIDS from developing in the long term.