Researchers studying the AIDS virus report in the journal Nature that it could remain infectious even when surrounded by neutralizing antibodies that would normally destroy it. A team at Virginia Commonwealth University examined follicular dendritic cells (FDCs) in the lymph nodes where large amounts of HIV, the AIDS virus, congregate. Although most viruses are inactivated when they are trapped by the dendritic cells, clearing the way for the patient to recover from infection, they found that HIV remains infectious.
The discovery could help explain the difficulty in halting the deadly disease and developing vaccines. It also can help to explain why some individuals with a high level of neutralizing antibody have ongoing infection, they said.