Feb 25, 2002
Is it possible to induce mutations into a virus? In other words, is there a way to cause hiv to mutate into a harmless virus? Are there any trials out there using this approach? Thanks. You are doing a fantastic job!
Response from Dr. Young
Thanks for your comments and question.
It sure would be nice if we could alter the virus into a harmless version; unfortunately we definately are not at this point.
What we have learned, however, is that certain drug resistance mutations (selected, of course, by antiretroviral drugs) can make HIV less replication fit than the original, wild type virus. This does not mean that the virus is harmless, as your question asks; though there may be clinical importance to having less fit virus. Importantly, we are not sure if this is the case, yet; particularly for those who have other treatment options. The question as to the maintenence of virus with resistance mutations (with ARVs) or reversion to wild type virus (discontinuation of ARVs) has been the subject of intense research. BY
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