HIV Life Cycle

I am absolutely certain that you have heard all about HIV and I am sure that you have a lot of information on this illness, but still I would like to tell you about the life cycle of the virus, or at least a part of the life cycle that it has.

It is very important for the scientists to find out about the way the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (also known as HIV) works, because this helps them to research in the most vulnerable points of the virus. If they manage to find out the secrets regarding the way of functioning and reproducing of the virus (that is referred to as the life cycle), probably they will be able to create new medications that are more effective in fighting the infection and have less side effects. Those people who have been infected with this virus, knowing how HIV acts will make it easier to understand the way that the medication works on the organism.

It is a known fact, that in order for the viruses to reproduce they need the presence of a living cell. The HIV has the capability to infect numerous cells in the body, but the main target of it is the immune cells that are known as lymphocytes. To be more specific, they are aiming at the CD4 helper cell, a kind of T-cell. These T-cells represent important parts of the immune system because they have a role in facilitating the response that the body has in case of several common, but possibly fatal infections. In case, there aren't enough T-cells the body loses its capability to defend itself against certain infections. There are many questions still unanswered regarding the way the life cycle of the HIV is related to the reduction of the number of T-cells of the organism, which results in an increased level of risk getting infected.

There are numerous ways for the HIV to enter the body, for example through unsafe sex, blood transfusion, contaminated needles, or from an infected mother to her child. After the virus gets into the body, it gets in contact with its target cell, the T-cell. The moment this happens, the virus hijacks the host cells' cellular machinery in order to reproduce itself in thousands of copies. There are many steps involved in the life cycle of the virus. At every one of these steps, theoretically it is possible to create a drug that would stop the virus. The creation of drugs that would interfere with specific steps of the life of the virus is known as rational drug design.

The first step in the life cycle of the HIV is the viral attachment. When the virus gets in contact with a T-cell, it manages to attach itself to it, in order to be able to fuse with it and inject it with its own genetic material that might be considered a blueprint to make more viruses of the same type.

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