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resting cells

May 3, 2009

Dr Holodniy

I'm a medical student studying in the UK and i'm hoping you can help me with a couple of questions regarding the behaviour of hiv within restng cells. We have been studying how the virus works and how it replicates, however one thing has me slightly puzzled. Normally, the virus infects a cell, incorporates itself into the DNA and then begins to reproduce, right? However the virus cannot replicate within resting cells and can lay dormant in these cells indefinately as they are not checked by the immune system, only cells that have been activated by the immune system can reproduce the virus when they divide. Could this mean that when the virus first enters a persons body, it could theoretically only infect resting cells and remain dormant until the cells are activated by other pathogens?

Response from Dr. Holodniy

That's a good question, but the virus is more likely/efficient to infect activated cells that resting cells.

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