Measles Suppresses AIDS Virus, Study Finds
April 19, 2002
HIV-positive children ill with measles may get a temporary respite from HIV, thanks to a revved-up immune response, researchers reported. Levels of HIV are suppressed while measles infection rages, the team at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found. "We were surprised by these findings, because we expected to see HIV replication increase, not decrease with measles, " Dr. William Moss, who led the study, said in a statement.Adapted from:
Moss said measles usually suppresses the immune system. "It results in many secondary infections and is a major cause of death among children. Our findings show that measles also triggers intense immune system activation that temporarily suppresses HIV," Moss said.
The research team studied 93 children infected with both measles and HIV at the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka, Zambia. Published in this week's Journal of Infectious Diseases (April, 15, 2002;185:1035-1042), the report said the children with both HIV and measles had higher than normal levels of CD8 T-cells. These elevated levels of CD8 cells were found at the same time the children had suppressed levels of HIV in their blood. After the children recovered from their bouts with measles, viral levels went back up. The only other infection that has been found to suppress HIV is scrub typhus, caused by the Orientia tsutsugamushi bacterium.
"More research will be needed with a larger study group to fully understand how measles suppresses HIV and activates the immune system, but our findings may provide clues to understanding both HIV pathogenesis and immunity," said Dr. Diane Griffin, a microbiologist who worked on the study.
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.