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Issue No. 8 | February 15, 2008

News and Features

Extended Nevirapine Prophylaxis Reduces HIV Transmission via Breastfeeding

Researchers reported at the recent Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections that a daily oral dose of nevirapine given to infants for the first 6 weeks of life reduces the risk of contracting HIV through breastfeeding.

In 6-week old infants receiving the daily dose of nevirapine, the rate of HIV infection was about half that for infants who had received the standard single dose of nevirapine at birth. At 6 months of age, the infants who had received nevirapine for 6 weeks were approximately one-third less likely to have contracted HIV compared to their single-dose counterparts.

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New Cellular Receptor for HIV Identified

Researchers at the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) have identified a new HIV receptor on CD4 cells called integrin alpha 4 beta 7. This integrin receptor works to direct T cells to the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT), the immune cells present in the gut. 

Researchers discovered that the HIV envelope protein, gp120, binds to the integrin alpha 4 beta 7 receptor. This binding promotes a stable junction between adjacent CD4 cells. Researchers believe HIV may trick CD4 cells into forming this junction in order to access uninfected cells.

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