Essay about Hiv And The Human Immunodeficiency Virus

Essay about Hiv And The Human Immunodeficiency Virus

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HIV, also known as the human immunodeficiency virus is a virus that attacks the immune system. It can be classified as a dangerous virus to humans as it can result in the formation of severe symptoms. Once an individual has been infected with the HIV virus they may go on to develop AIDS. HIV is found most abundant in developing countries, particularly that of the Sub-Saharan Africa, where over 28 million people are infected with HIV. In 2013, approximately 1.5 million people have died from aids related illnesses. This emphasises the need for a cure. Unfortunately however, there is no procedure or medication which has been scientifically proven to reliably remove the virus from a person 's body or to reverse the damage it has done to the immune system. Like all retroviruses, HIV cannot grow or reproduce on its own. In order to make new copies of itself it must infect the cells of a living organism. 1, 2
A HIV virion is surrounded by a lipid bilayer. The lipid bilayer consists of two layers of phospholipid molecules. Its integrity is maintained by its polarity. The most important function of the lipid bilayer is to provide an impermeable surface. This prevents molecules passing freely across it and prevents large and small polar molecules crossing the bilayer, only water and gases can pass through easily.
On the lipid bilayer, there are several glycoprotein 's present. A glycoprotein is a molecule that consists of both a carbohydrate as well as proteins. They are essential in allowing HIV interaction with lymphocytes and allowing HIV to enter host lymphatic cells. 3
One type of glycoprotein the HIV virus posses is the envelope protein gp120. The function of the gp120 is to allow virus entry. It plays an important role in the att...


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...n the effectiveness of the drug. It is also important to note that current treatment aims at hindering replication at best, but does not remove the threat that is the presence of HIV virus in the body. 13
It is important to bear in mind that not one person has recovered from an HIV infection, so we can assume that no natural immune response can be imitated. As mentioned above, HIV destroys T lymphocytes, a vital component in the immune response you are trying to use with a potential vaccine. HIV has a long latent period before the disease (AIDS) sets in. As a result a vaccine may protect against disease progression but not necessarily infection. Vaccines based on inactivated or weakened HIV viruses have proven ineffective in producing an immune response. Using live forms of the virus would be potentially hazardous and may cause more harm to the patient then good. 14

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