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Late Seroconversion and Virus in blood
Mar 28, 2001

Dr. Mark, I have done quite a bit of research on late seroconverters. It seems that the theory on these cases is that, rather than the virus being in the bloodstream for a long time; it is instead in an "eclipse phase" and bascially dormant in lymph tissue. Supposedly, once the virus comes into the bloodstream, the seroconversion process is rather quick (about one to two weeks). Thus, in late seroconverters, PCR testing (DNA and viral load) would not be relevant - it would be useless(since there would be no virus present until the "eclipse phase" is over). Here's my question for you: Since this is your area of expertise, is my understanding of this correct? Is this consistant with your research? Or, is delayed seroconversion probably caused by the body's inability to create antibodies to virus which has been present in the bloodstream for a prolonged time? Thank you for reading this - any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Response from Dr. Holodniy

I am still waiting to see those documented cases of late seroconversion. Your theory is only partially correct. Actually virus gets processed first within lymph nodes where it is recognized by the immune system as foreign and cytotoxic t cells develop that are specific for HIV proteins and antibodies develop against these viral proteins as well. Virus and antibody then spill out into the blood stream.



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