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On the AIDS front.

On the AIDS front

* In the Aug. 8 SCIENCE, researchers from the National Institutesof Health in Bethesda, Md., Washington University in St. Louis and Biotech Research Laboratories in Rockville, Md., describe two remodeled AIDS viruses. In one, they used enzymes that snip DNA at specific locations to omit sections of genes that produce an enveloping protein and a protein whose function has yet to be determined. The second variant lacks only the gene for the mystery protein. The virus without the two genes can reproduce in culture without killing T cells, unlike the intact AIDS virus. The virus lacking just the unknown gene does kill T cells. The findings, the researchers report, indicate that cell killing isn't necessary for the virus's survival, and that the mystery gene and its protein need not be present for the virus to infect and kill cells. But before the nonlethal strain can be used as a vaccine, much more work needs to be done, they caution.

* Shyh-Ching Lo of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathologyin Washington, D.C., reports in the July AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AND HYGIENE that he has isolated a previously unrecognized virus from the blood of two people with AIDS. The virus is not the AIDS virus, which was recently designated HIV (also known as HTLV-III, LAV-I, or ARV-I). He was unable to culture the new virus from normal human cells. Lo also found evidence of infection with the new virus in 23 to 24 AIDS patients but did not report doing tests on blood from healthy people for comparison. The new virus could be, among other things, a laboratory contaminant, a virus harbored by everyone, an opportunistic organism that establishes itself in AIDS or a cofactor necessary for establishment of the disease.
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Title Annotation:recent research
Publication:Science News
Date:Aug 16, 1986
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