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sensitivity of the HIV virus

Jul 9, 2000

Is there any temperature at which the aids virus will die if exposed? If so, is there a difference if the virus is isolated as opposed to in blood, tissue, etc.? How does pH affect the virus? Would metabolic acidosis or alkalosis kill the virus in a patient? Has there been any testing in inducing hypothermia or metabolic changes that would have a therapeutic effect in HIV patients? Has there been any testing regarding effects of radiation on the retrovirus? I am radiochemist, so could a monoclonal antibody for the virus be developed to deliver a lethal radiation dose directly to the virus at the cellular level, resulting in a therapeutic effect?

Response from Dr. Holodniy

HIV survives better in the cold than at elevated temps. Blood or fluid containing virus survives for days in the refrigerator. If it's a drop on a counter, once it's dry, its dead. The virus can survive indefinitely stored at - 80 C or in liquid nitrogen. Heat on the other hand kills the virus. I am not aware of careful experiments that determined the exact temp above which the virus cannot be propagated. Physiologic changes in acid-base will not kill the virus. There have been some extracorporeal experiments in which blood was heated or cooled. This however only eliminates about 1% of the infectious cellular pool. I am not aware of the radiation literature and HIV. It seems different strategies could be used, but at what risk to the host. Depending on the type of radiation used, one could imagine directly affecting viral particle structure, or killing infected cells. If you could target infected cells only with low level radiation such that it would not affect other uninfected cells in the proximity, this might be a viable strategy. This would be akin to the radioactive iodine used in hyperthyroidism.


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