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Virology. 2001 May 10;283(2):324-31.

High virus loads in naturally and experimentally SIVagm-infected African green monkeys.

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Paul-Ehrlich-Institut, Paul-Ehrlich-Str. 51-59, 63225 Langen, Germany.


A quantitative RT-PCR assay was developed for SIVagm and was used to measure the levels of viral RNA in the plasma of experimentally and naturally infected African green monkeys. The number of productively infected PBMCs and the number of cells carrying integrated provirus were also measured. Plasma virus loads in experimentally infected animals peaked at 2 weeks postinfection, ranging from 2.9 x 10(5) to 4.2 x 10(7) RNA copies/ml plasma. Set points of 2.1 x 10(3) to 2.8 x 10(6) RNA copies/ml plasma were maintained for one year. Similarly, the number of cells carrying integrated SIVagm provirus remained relatively stable in individual animals for one year with set points ranging from 73 to 810 proviral copies per 10(6) PBMC. However, the number of productively infected cells fluctuated considerably during this period. Virus loads in the 26 naturally infected AGMs ranged from 8.3 x 10(3) to 1.1 x 10(7) (mean 1.7 x 10(6)) RNA copies/ml plasma. These levels of viremia are similar to those seen in pathogenic systems (HIV-1, SIVmac), indicating that control of SIVagm replication is not the reason for the natural host's resistance to disease progression.

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