Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report Summarizes Findings Presented at 12th Conference on Retroviruses
Scientists this week at the 12th Annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Boston have presented the findings of various HIV/AIDS-related research. The findings of two studies are summarized below:
- Combination antiretroviral drug therapy -- which is "huge[ly]" successful in extending the life expectancy of HIV-positive people -- is associated with a twofold increased risk of heart attack, according to study findings presented at the conference, the Wall Street Journal reports. Jens Lundgren, a researcher at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, said that the heart attack risk associated with combination antiretroviral therapy is "on a par with smoking cigarettes," according to the Journal. However, Lundgren recommended that HIV-positive people remain on the drugs but modify other lifestyle factors associated with heart health, such as diet and tobacco use, the Journal reports (Chase, Wall Street Journal, 2/24).
- Scientists have discovered an important element that shows how HIV mutates in order to elude the immune system and enter cells, according to research presented at the conference on Wednesday, AFP/Yahoo! News reports (APF/Yahoo! News, 2/23). In a study conducted at Children's Hospital Boston and published in the Feb. 24 issue of the journal Nature, Stephen Harrison and colleagues at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute used a three-dimensional image of the HIV protein gp120 to study its structure before it transforms and attaches to CD4+ T cell receptors. Harrison said that understanding how gp120 mutates could lead to the development of an effective HIV/AIDS vaccine, Reuters reports (Reuters, 2/23).