It may now be possible to tell how quickly an HIV infected person is likely to progress to AIDS. Homayoon Farzadegan and colleagues at the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, US, compared the rate of progression of HIV infection in two groups of homosexuals -- those who develop illness within three years of seroconversion (development of antibodies in response to HIV infection) and those who have been infected for over six years but did not develop into full blown AIDS patients. They have identified that the HIV gag proteins p17 and p24 are quite crucial in this process. Studying the process of rapid anti- gag response will help detect the HIV infection much earlier than at present.
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