Generation and characterization of infectious molecular clones of transmitted/founder HIV-1 subtype C viruses


Human Immunodeficiency Virus type 1 (HIV-1) remains a significant global health concern, especially in regions where subtype C is prevalent. The transmitted/founder viruses (T/F viruses) are the first strains of HIV-1 that successfully establish infection in a newly infected individual. Understanding these T/F viruses is crucial in developing effective strategies for prevention and treatment of HIV-1.

In this research study, scientists focused on HIV-1 subtype C, which is responsible for a large portion of HIV infections worldwide. The goal was to create and study infectious molecular clones of T/F viruses to gain insights into their characteristics and behavior.

To achieve this, the researchers carefully isolated T/F viruses from individuals recently infected with HIV-1 subtype C. These viruses were then genetically sequenced to construct infectious molecular clones, which are artificial copies of the original virus that can be studied in controlled laboratory conditions.

Once the infectious molecular clones were generated, the scientists meticulously analyzed their properties, such as replication ability, growth kinetics, and sensitivity to antiviral conditions. By studying these clones, the researchers aimed to gain a deeper understanding of how T/F viruses function and interact with the human immune system.

The findings of this study are significant for several reasons. First, they provide crucial information about the molecular characteristics of HIV-1 subtype C T/F viruses, shedding light on how these viruses initiate and spread infection in the early stages of transmission. Second, the infectious molecular clones created in this research can serve as valuable tools for further HIV research, aiding in the development of new treatments and preventive measures.

In conclusion, this study represents a significant step forward in the quest to combat HIV-1 subtype C infections. By generating and thoroughly characterizing infectious molecular clones of T/F viruses, scientists have gained valuable insights into the early events of HIV-1 transmission. This knowledge lays the groundwork for the development of more effective strategies to tackle HIV-1, with the ultimate goal of curbing the global impact of this devastating virus.

SANTHE is an Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) flagship programme funded by the Science for Africa Foundation through the DELTAS Africa programme; the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Gilead Sciences Inc.; and the Ragon Institute of Mass General, MIT, and Harvard.