A new video released by researchers shows the moment when an HIV-infected cell transfers the virus to a new host during sexual intercourse. The video shows the entire process of the virus crossing genital mucosal membranes to achieve its goals in the immune system.
"We had this global idea of how HIV infects this tissue [of the genital tract]but living something is completely different," Morgane Bomsel, a molecular biologist at the Cochin Institute in Paris and a senior author of the study, said in a statement. "The exact sequence of events can be defined."
To better understand the process, researchers created an in vitro model of the urethral mucosa. In the video, the virus that infects cells of the immune system ̵
Bomsel said it was interesting to note that the infected T cells seemed to target epithelial cells directly via macrophages.
"The macrophage simply remains silent, ready to catch the virus when it escapes the epithelial cells, but this dynamic observation has made us realize that the synapse is always formed on epithelial cells that are just above macrophages." We suspect that we have an interaction between the macrophages and the epithelium. We could not have imagined this type of imaging, "she said.
After about 20 days, HIV entered a latent or" dormant "phase, the virus was present in the macrophages, and the presence of the virus in the macrophages calls for efforts to develop treatments for HIV.
"Once HIV is installed in a reservoir, it makes life very complicated if you want to eradicate the virus," said Bomsel, adding that antiretroviral therapies in such a case
"So one goal would be to act extremely early after the infection to avoid this reservoir formation, so I think a vaccine that works on the mucosa is what you would need. added her.
"We're trying to find ways to clean the reservoir because we think we know how to kill the virus as soon as we shock the reservoir, and another part of what we do here is development a mucosal HIV vaccine, "Bomsel concluded. "It's a complicated area, but I think it's important."
These results were described in a study published Tuesday in the journal Cell Reports. A 2 second compressed version of the video can be viewed here.
Over 36 million people in the world suffer from HIV, including 2 million children. There is currently no cure for HIV.