BC Center for Excellence in HIV/AIDS involved in study tracing HIV adaptation to its human host
“Much research has focused on how HIV adapts to antiviral drugs – we wanted to investigate how HIV adapts to us, its human host, over time,” says lead author Zabrina Brumme from Simon Fraser University.
In a study published in PLOS Genetics, which traces the evolution of HIV in North America, the Brumme lab and colleagues at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, Harvard University, the New York Blood Center, and The San Francisco Department of Public Health found evidence that the virus is slowly adapting over time to its human hosts. However, this change is so gradual that it is unlikely to have an impact on vaccine design.
“HIV adapts to the immune response in reproducible ways. In theory, this could be bad news for host immunity – and vaccines - if such mutations were to spread in the population ” says Brumme. “Just like transmitted drug resistance can compromise treatment success, transmitted immune escape mutations could erode our ability to naturally fight HIV”.
Chuck, Cheryl's husband