Human Immunodeficiency Virus

Human Immunodeficiency Virus The content of this paper is whether or not mutations undergone by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and allow it to survive in the immune system. The cost of treating all persons with AIDS in 1993 in the United States was $7.8 billion, and it is estimated that 20,000 new cases of AIDS are reported every 3 months to the CDC. The question dealing with how HIV survives in the immune system is important, not only in the search for a cure for the virus and its inescapable syndrome, AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome), but also so that over 500,000 Americans already infected with the virus could be saved. This is possible because if we know that HIV can survive through mutations then we might be able to come up with a type of drug to confuse these mutations allowing the immune system time to erase it before the onset of AIDS. In order to be able to fully comprehend and analyze this question we must first prove what HIV is, how the body attempts to counter the effects of viruses in general, and how HIV infects the body. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. HIV is classified as a RNA Retrovirus. A retrovirus uses RNA templates to produce DNA. For example, within the core of HIV is a double molecule of ribonucleic acid, RNA. When the virus invades a cell, this genetic material is replicated in the form of DNA . But, in order to do so, HIV must first be able to produce a special enzyme that can construct a DNA molecule using an RNA template. This enzyme, called RNA-directed DNA polymerase, is also known as reverse transcriptase because it reverses the normal cellular process of transcription. The DNA molecules produced by reverse transcription are then inserted into the genetic material of the host cell, where they are co-replicated with the host’s chromosomes; they are then distributed to all daughter cells during later cell divisions. Then in one or more of these…

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