Experts at University College London found that HIV (Human immuno deficiency virus) spreads throughout the body by bloodstream and directly between cells. It was similar to how some computer worms spread through both the internet and local networks, to infect many computers.
HIV specialities created a new model for HIV progression in order to notice the accurate progression from HIV to AIDS in patients. Data from 17 HIV patients from London was used to verify the model.
HIV infects CD4+ T-cells, which play a vital role in the immune system and protect us from diseases. Hybrid spreading provided the best explanation for HIV progression and showed that HIV reduced the number of active T-cells in the body until the immune system could not function correctly, a state known as 'acquired immune deficiency syndrome' or AIDS.
Professor Benny Chain, co-senior author at UCL Infection and Immunity said, "The number of HIV cells in the bloodstream was always relatively low, and their model showed that HIV spreading through the bloodstream alone was not enough to cause AIDS".
Preventing its spread through the bloodstream would not stop AIDS if HIV had already spread to an area rich in T-cells by the time treatment begins. Complete block of cell-to-cell transfer would prevent progression to AIDS and highlighs the need to develop new treatments.