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Free Viral RNA in bloodstream
May 29, 2000

When doing a viral load test, the viral RNA in the bloodstream is counted. I'm curious how individual viral RNA strands end up in the bloodstream since the viral envelope is re-assembled from the cells membrane when the virus buds from the cell. I assume that the free RNA are not able to enter another cell since there's no mechanism for fusing. Thanks, Mark

Response from Dr. Holodniy

HIV RNA is not "free" in blood. HIV RNA is contained within "cellfree" virus particles within blood plasma. You are correct, HIV RNA within cells, is assembled into viral particles, which are then extruded out of the cell membrane and into the blood. These complete viral particles are then able to infect other T cells. MH



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