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Increased Replication Capacity of 3-DCR HIV NYC

Recombinomics Commentary
February 14, 2005

>>  More evidence in scientific literature about the detailed structure and molecular basis of the virus in this case is needed before being it can be considered to be more virulent. Other questions that need investigating, includes seeing whether substance abuse increases a person's susceptibility to disease. <<

Assays have already been run on the 3-DCR HIV NYC to test for virulence.  The isolate was CXCR4 tropic, consistent with resistance to 19 of the 20 FDA approved HIV antivirals.  However, it had a wild type Replication Capacity which was unusual for a CXCR4 tropic isolate.  Since these assays are done in vitro, they would be independent of host factors.  Thus, the virus clearly has combined two distinct properties not seen previously, suggesting that it may be a recombinant.

Complete sequencing and structural analysis could shed additional light on the mechanism used to merge these two properties, but the data already shows that the virus has combined two properties that would be expected if the virus was more virulent. 

The effect of these genetic changes on disease progression in a large population remains to be determined.  However, the data on combining properties which are consistent with increased virulence have already been described.

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