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AIDS. 1990 Feb;4(2):107-12.

Rapid development of isolate-specific neutralizing antibodies after primary HIV-1 infection and consequent emergence of virus variants which resist neutralization by autologous sera.

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Department of Virology, National Bacteriological Laboratory, Stockholm, Sweden.


The kinetics of appearance and specificity of HIV-1 neutralizing antibodies was studied in four individuals. HIV-1 was isolated during symptomatic primary HIV-1 infection and repeatedly thereafter, and tested against autologous sera collected in parallel. Our patients developed isolate-specific low-titer neutralizing antibodies within 2-4 weeks, and the titers to the first isolates increased with time. We documented the emergence of virus variants with reduced sensitivity to neutralization by autologous, but not heterologous, sera in three patients. These virus variants were not, however, resistant to neutralization per se, since they were readily neutralized by the positive control serum. Our patients did not develop antibodies capable of neutralizing the new virus variants during the observation period. This suggests either a failure of the immune system to respond to the new virus variants or a mechanism by which the virus evades detection by the immune system. The emergence of neutralization-resistant virus variants was not directly correlated with disease progression since two patients have remained asymptomatic after the emergence of such virus variants. It is, however, likely that the emergence of virus variants which the patient fails to neutralize in the long run contributes to disease progression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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