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Viruses. 2013 Jun 6;5(6):1414-30. doi: 10.3390/v5061414.

Influence of naturally occurring simian foamy viruses (SFVs) on SIV disease progression in the rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) model.

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Laboratory of Retroviruses, Division of Viral Products, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, US Food and Drug Administration, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


We have investigated the influence of naturally occurring simian foamy viruses (SFVs) on simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection and disease in Indian rhesus macaques. Animals were divided into two groups based upon presence or absence of SFV; in each group, eight monkeys were injected with SIV(mac239) virus obtained from a molecular clone and four were injected with medium. Blood was collected every two weeks for evaluation of SIV infection based upon T cell-subsets, plasma viral load, development and persistence of virus-specific antibodies, and clinical changes by physical examination and hematology. Comparative analysis of SFV+/SIV+ and SFV-/SIV+ monkey groups indicated statistically significant differences in the plasma viral load between 6-28 weeks, particularly after reaching plateau at 20-28 weeks, in the CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell numbers over the entire study period (2-43 weeks), and in the survival rates evaluated at 49 weeks. There was an increase in the plasma viral load, a decreasing trend in the CD4+ T cells, and a greater number of animal deaths in the SFV+/SIV+ group. The results, although based upon a small number of animals, indicated that pre-existing SFV infection can influence SIV infection and disease outcome in the rhesus macaque model. The study highlights consideration of the SFV status in evaluating results from SIV pathogenesis and vaccine challenge studies in monkeys and indicates the potential use of the SFV/SIV monkey model to study the dynamics of SFV and HIV-1 dual infections, recently reported in humans.

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