HIV researchers discover that the virus prefers to target immune cells coated in sugar on its surface

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system.

In a new study by researchers at the Gladstone Institute in the US, the virus is found to have a strong taste for sugar located in one of the system’s immune cells called CD4 T cells.

By monitoring sugar at the cellular level, scientists have been able to remove the existing roadblock that has frustrated HIV researchers for decades.

It is the first time such a feat has been achieved since the virus was first reported in Africa in the 1950s, which has affected millions of people worldwide, including in the United States, Europe and Asia. .

New aspects of HIV

(Photo: ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

In a new article published in the journal eLife Tuesday, July 5, scientists discovered that certain sugar-containing immune cells in our bodies are susceptible to HIV.

The findings were driven by single cell glycemic analysis.

This was made possible through high-parameter single-cell phenotyping, allowing the classification and interrogation of immune cells.

However, characterizing the glycemic content of the cells was not possible at the time of writing the study.

Read also : A possible cure for HIV and AIDS in a few years, researchers say

HIV targets CD4 cells

Scientists have long believed that HIV targets a specific type of immune cell called Memory CD4 T cells.

However, knowledge about the specific reason for this preference was not clearly defined in the past or was difficult to determine, according to Phys.org.

In particular, CD4 cells come in many flavors, but the challenge lies in the technological ability to determine which individual cell is preferred by HIV over another.

HIV replication

CD4 cells are responsible for helping the body fight infections, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

However, these immune cells end up being damaged or destroyed upon entry of HIV, which replicates and leads to the destruction of the host cell.

HIV acts and behaves like other pathogenic viruses to some degree.

Yet, the new discovery is unique as it uncovers new aspects of viral infection never seen before.

HIV symptoms and transmission

Although HIV is still a pandemic, its symptoms and transmission are not clearly evident in relation to the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Since HIV disease is known as a “lifelong infection” due to its gradual manifestation but permanence in the body. This means that one can remove its effect only by treatment because there is still no cure.

When HIV is left untreated, it escalates into lethal acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), which can lead to other serious health complications and even death.

HIV is transmitted through blood or body fluids. The best-known transmission channels are sexual intercourse and syringes containing blood or fluid from an infected person.

HIV symptoms can be noticed months or even years after the initial infection.

Symptoms include fever, headache, rash, diarrhea, and weight loss.

Additionally, widespread symptoms include conditions resulting from an immune system weakened by other pathogens like bacteria.

Related article: AIDS treatment: Scientists develop potential ‘one-shot cure’ or vaccine for HIV and AIDS

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Rachel J. Bradford