Initial immune response to HIV infection is much greater than previously thought

Leading international peer-reviewed medical journal, Immunity, has published the findings of ground-breaking research led by Honorary Senior Lecturer at UKZN’s HIV Pathogenesis Programme (HPP), Dr Zaza Ndhlovu.

‘We wanted to understand how the body defends itself during the first stage of HIV disease called “acute HIV infection”. We also wanted to understand why the immune system, which seems to initially control the virus, fails to completely eliminate it resulting in progressive HIV disease,’ Ndhlovu said.

The two-year study titled: “Magnitude and Kinetics of CD8+ T Cell Activation during Hyperacute HIV Infection Impacts Viral Set Point”, was conducted in Umlazi, Durban, where Ndhlovu’s team discovered that despite HIV being characterised as an immune suppressive disease, the initial immune response to HIV infection was much larger than previously appreciated.

Read the full article here.

Publication Date: Sep 2015