Spanish researchers investigate HIV immunosuppression

A still from a video explaining Sanofi Pasteur's dengue vaccine candidate.
A still from a video explaining Sanofi Pasteur's dengue vaccine candidate. | Courtesy of Sanofi Pasteur
Researchers from the Biomedical Research Institute in Barcelona, Spain, have found that the adaptation of people who have severely immunosuppressed HIV infections largely relies on the host’s virologic and immunologic response to the virus itself.

Most health professionals say that people with HIV infections should begin their treatments immediately after receiving their diagnosis. This recommendation typically supersedes any viral load or immunosuppression level.

In the worst situation possible, the study showed that patients are able to control the infection if they bounce back from immunologic response or have reduced viral loads.

"The problem is the reality that we live in the health care," Dr. Daniel Podzamczer, head of the HIV and STD Unit of the Infectious Diseases at the University Hospital of Bellvitge, said. "Patients often arrive severely immunocompromised; 66 percent of them with CD4 <500 cells per millimeter cubed and in this study we wanted to observe the evolution of patients who are late for treatment, which in our case are approximately 22 percent  with CD4 <200 cells per millimeter cubed."

There were 2,300 people involved in the study, all of whom had severely immunocompromised HIV infections.

"Even in the worst case, you can fight the disease progression, but we must not forget that 30 percent of these patients failed to recover the immune response,” Dr. Elena Ferrer, first author of the study and director of medical service of infectious diseases at University Hospital of Bellvitge, said. “And the recommendation has to be still diagnosed and treat the patient as soon as possible, so the task of prevention and information to society is needed."

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Institute of Biomedical Research of Bellvitge

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