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May 29, 2006

Hello Doctor-

I was wondering if you can give me an example of another retrovirus that effects humans? Do all retrovirus use marginalizes the importance of HIV's ancestry - limiting our ability to envision it's eradication. Without knowing reverse transcriptase to integrate into the cell?

Do you know of any studies being done with other lentiviruses such as BIV and SIV as models for HIV treatment? It seems as though the scientific community how it began how can we expect to know the end? Surely we must know exactly how this virus evolved to know what makes it unique - Do you agree? Thanks for your answer.

Response from Dr. Daar

All great questions.

There are several human retroviruses other than the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1. This includes the human T cell lymphotropic viruses (HTLV) type I and II and HIV type 2. As you mention, there are also a host of non primate and non human primate viruses, such as the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) which causes disease in cats and the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) which infects various monkeys and chimps. There is considerable research underway to better understand how each of these viruses causes disease and several have been used to better understand HIV infection. In particular, SIV infection has been extensively used to better define how HIV causes disease and to test new therapies and vaccine strategies.

This is obviously an enormous topic of interest. I hope my brief comments provide some additional information. If you have more specific questions about this let me know. Best, Eric


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