The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) strangleholds the human immune system to make it ineffective so that no anti-HIV treatment is successful or complete, scientists in Australia have discovered.
They explain that the virus hides dormant versions of itself in a reservoir of cells and "wakes up" in the future to attack the immune system, reports english.news.cn.
"These silently infected cells are not cleared by anti-HIV drugs or the immune system (meaning) once a patient stops the anti- HIV drugs, the virus can then wake up and gets going again," said Professor Sharon Lewin of the Burnet Institute's Center for Virology and Director of The Alfred's Infectious Diseases Unit, as saying.
"We have shown that a family of proteins, called chemokines, that guide resting cells through the blood and into lymph node tissue can 'unlock the door' and allow HIV to enter and set up a silent or 'latent' infection," he added.
Lewin said understanding how the virus achieved this should speed up the development of new and more potent treatments for HIV, keeping its latency in check while also targeting its more active presence in the body.
The research is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science this week.