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Reason for lowered viral load
Jul 22, 1998

An earlier question asked about the reduction in viral load after the initial increase during ARS. What causes the reduction or lowering of the level. Is it the action of the antibodies that develop to fight the infection? If so, I would think that one would return a positive elisa result early on if ARS symptoms resolve quickly. On the other hand, I'd think that if symptoms do not resolve and instead become chronic, this may be an indication that antibody development/action is delayed allowing viral load to remain elevated while still returning negative elisa results. Hope I'm not just stating the obvious, but I am curious. Thanks very much.

Response from Dr. Holodniy

Information continues to accumulate regarding the acute retroviral syndrome. The spectrum of symptoms is highly variable. The presence of, or lack of symptoms, does not appear to correlate with the rate of antibody development. Neither does the amount of viral load. In natural history studies (small numbers), the severity of symptoms is loosely correlated with quicker progression. These studies do not account for the impact of therapy. MH



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