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Natural resistance mechanisms to HIV-1 infection - Essay Example
Natural resistance is the mechanism by which an organism protects itself from infection by identifying and killing pathogens. It does so by using several types of proteins, cells, organs and tissues which interact in an elaborate and dynamic network.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a retrovirus that causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), a condition in which the immune system begins to fail, leading to infections…
There is currently no vaccine or cure for AIDS or HIV. The only known method is avoiding exposure of the virus. However a treatment known as post-exposure prophylaxis is believed to reduce the risk of infection if begun directly after exposure. Current treatment of HIV infection consists of highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART). This refers to combined therapy with three or more drugs, usually two that target the reverse transcriptase and one that targets the viral protease. Kimball's biology pages. 7 Oct. 2004. 24 Feb. 2007
Natural resistance to HIV can be considered at two levels: resistance to becoming infected with the virus and resistance to the virus if the person is already infected. The mechanisms of natural resistance in both cases are:
Apoptosis. Apoptosis is a programmed death of the cells in multi-cells organism. During the HIV infection apoptosis is the main mechanism by which infected and uninfected CD4+ lymphocytes are eliminated. However apoptosis as a natural resistant mechanism to HIV infection has not been explored so far.
Genetic factor. ...