Curious

Are the infectious abilities of the AIDS virus weakening?

Many years of observations of AIDS patients in Botswana and the Republic of South Africa show that the human immunodeficiency virus /HIV/ is gradually changing and becoming less dangerous and contagious.

Scientists from the University of Oxford point out that in the process of adaptation to the human immune system the virus changes several times and now, when it enters the human body, it takes much longer to cause AIDS . The research was published in the Journal of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.

There are currently more than 35 million people with HIV positive status worldwide. This retrovirus is metaphorically defined by scientists as a master of disguise – it quickly and easily mutates to adapt to the human immune system.

One of the authors of the study notes that the HIV virus periodically infects people with a strong immune system, and in such cases it has to change in order to survive, and this mutation is not without consequences. As a result, the ability of the virus to replicate is weakened. This makes it less contagious and increases the time it takes for AIDS to develop in the body. Subsequently, the weakened virus enters the body of other people and begins a cycle of its gradual weakening.

Scientists compare the situation in Botswana, where the problem of AIDS patients has existed for a long time, with that in the Republic of South Africa, where the virus appeared 10 years later. As a result of the analysis, it was found that in Botswana, the ability of the retrovirus to multiply is 10% weaker than in the Republic of South Africa.

According to the authors of the study, the use of antiretroviral drugs is also a reason for the HIV virus to mutate into a milder form. Scientists also point out that 20 years ago, AIDS developed about 10 years after infection with the retrovirus.

But in recent years this period has increased to 12.5 years. This is a gradual increase in the period for the development of the disease, but it is still a significant change. It is possible that in the future the period for the emergence of AIDS will continue to increase and those infected with the HIV virus will not show any characteristic symptoms for decades.

According to scientists, ongoing changes in the virus provide an opportunity to fight its spread more effectively. Some virologists suggest that over time the HIV virus will become almost harmless if it continues to mutate in this direction.

However, scientists note that it will take a very long time before this virus, which is still dangerous to humans, becomes harmless. Before this happens, however, the development of more effective preparations and affordable treatment to prevent the development of AIDS must continue.

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