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HIV

HIV continues to be a major global public health issue, having claimed more than 35 million lives. In 2017, 940 000 people died from HIV-related causes globally. There were approximately 36.9 million people living with HIV at the end of 2017 with 1.8 million people becoming newly infected in 2017 globally.

 

To support continuing research into HIV we have developed a panel of recombinant gp120 proteins for different strains of HIV.

HIV background

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is an enveloped single stranded virus that is a member of the genus Lentivirus in the family Retroviridae. Two types of HIV are recognised: HIV-type 1, which is responsible for most HIV infections globally and HIV-type 2, which is restricted to some regions of Africa. In 2016, it was estimated that 36.7 million people worldwide were living with HIV infection (UNAIDS factsheet).

HIV-1 viruses may be further divided into groups, being M, N, O and P. The HIV-1 group M viruses predominate and are responsible for the AIDS pandemic. Within the M group of HIV-1 there are a number of genetically distinct sub-types (also known as clades). Different subtypes can also combine genetic material to form a hybrid virus or “circulating recombinant form (CRF)”. Subtype B is the most common in the Americas and Western Europe, whilst subtype C is the predominant form in Africa and India. Most research has been carried out into subtype B, although it accounts for only around 12% of infections worldwide.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus is transmitted from person-to-person through contact with contaminated blood, seminal fluid, vaginal secretions, rectal fluids and breast milk. HIV particles can be detected in the blood 10-12 days after infection. Characteristics of HIV infection vary and may include flu-like symptoms, fever, arthralgia, lymphadenopathy, pharyngitis, weight loss and general malaise. An asymptomatic phase follows the acute phase of HIV infection. During this phase, the effects of HIV infection continue resulting in a decrease in CD4+ T-cell populations and impairment of the immune system. Seroconversion is estimated to occur between 3- 5 weeks after infection. (Fanales-Belasio, E. et al).

HIV targets cells of the hosts immune system including circulating host T-cells, precursor T-cells in the bone marrow and thymus, dendritic cells, macrophages and monocytes, eosinophils and microglia cells in the central nervous system. The HIV gp120 envelope glycoprotein enables the virus to enter host target cells by interacting with CD4, a cell surface glycoprotein. Chemokine receptors have also been identified, primarily CXCR4 and CCR5, which act as co-receptors for viral entry (Wilen, C.B. et al).

In the absence of treatment, HIV infection can progress further resulting in a decrease in T-cell numbers and development of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). AIDS renders the individual susceptible to opportunistic infections including Microcystis carinii, Candida albicans, Cytomegalovirus and Herpes zoster, which are life-threatening in these patients. (Fanales-Belasio, E. et al). Effective antiretroviral therapy (ART) is widely available for the treatment of HIV infection. In 2016, approximately 19.5 million people worldwide are reported to be receiving ART resulting in significant reductions in death rates in both children and adults (UNAIDS factsheet).

HIV Antigens

We offer a panel of recombinant HIV gp120 proteins that have been expressed in a mammalian cell system, ensuring correct glycosylation. These proteins are available from different sub-types of HIV-1, allowing researchers to study the different behaviour of the different types of virus and the associated activity of gp120.

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