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An Innovation in the Quest to Treat HIV - Research Paper Example

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The research paper 'An Innovation in the Quest to Treat HIV' presents the results of a study of the effectiveness of the treatment of HIV infection with the anti-virus drug Raltegravir, also known as MK-0518, aimed at inhibiting the integration of human immunodeficiency virus type 1…
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An Innovation in the Quest to Treat HIV
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Download file to see previous pages The acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a disease caused by infection with the human immunodeficiency virus HIV and is characterized by profound immuno-suppression with associated opportunistic infections, malignancies, wasting, and central nervous system degeneration. Scientists have ascertained two types of this virus. The principal cause of AIDS worldwide is HIV-1. HIV-2 is dominantly found in West Africa. HIV fits into the retrovirus family of viruses. (Bullock and Henze, 2000)
The modes of HIV transmission have been well identified and have remained unchanged throughout the history of this disease. HIV is transmitted from one person to another through: (1) sexual relations with an infected person; Worldwide, 75% to 85% of HIV infections are transmitted through unprotected sex. (2) sharing in the use of hypodermic needles or accidental pricking by a needle contaminated with infected blood; and (3) transferring of the virus from an infected mother to her baby during birth or through breast-feeding.
When HIV enters the body, it destroys lymphocytes, specifically CD4+ T cells which are white blood cells of the immune system that exert critical regulatory and effector functions involving both cellular and humoral immunity. The virus commandeers the genetic material of the host cell, instructing the cell to replicate more viruses. The newly-formed viruses rupture free from the host, destroying the cell in the process. The new viruses continue to infect and destroy other lymphocytes. “As a result of these observations, it was not difficult to imagine that HIV-associated immunodeficiency was due to virally mediated destruction of CD4+ T cells” (McGune 2001)
Over a period that may keep going from a few months to up to 15 years, HIV constitutes an attack on the entire immune system, destroying enough lymphocytes making the system unable to function properly. An infected individual develops multiple life-threatening illnesses from infections that normally do not cause illnesses in people with a healthy immune system.  ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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