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Proc Biol Sci. Jul 7, 2000; 267(1450): 1347–1354.
PMCID: PMC1690670

HIV-1 dynamics revisited: biphasic decay by cytotoxic T lymphocyte killing?


The biphasic decay of blood viraemia in patients being treated for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection has been explained as the decay of two distinct populations of cells: the rapid death of productively infected cells followed by the much slower elimination of a second population the identity of which remains unknown. Here we advance an alternative explanation based on the immune response against a single population of infected cells. We show that the biphasic decay can be explained simply, without invoking multiple compartments: viral load falls quickly while cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) are still abundant, and more slowly as CTL disappear. We propose a method to test this idea, and develop a framework that is readily applicable to treatment of other infections.

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Selected References

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