NIH Press Release
National Institute of Allergy and
Infectious Diseases

Wednesday, Dec. 11, 1996
2:00 PM Eastern Time

Greg Folkers
(301) 402-1663

Fauci: New Findings on Host Factors Illuminate AIDS Pathogenesis

A clearer picture is now emerging of how factors intrinsic to the HIV-infected individual influence the rate at which HIV replicates in the person's body and how rapidly the patient will develop AIDS, says Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

These so-called "host factors" include the specific immune response to the virus, non-specific factors and the individual's genetic makeup. Such factors are as important, or in some cases even more important, to the HIV disease process than the intrinsic virulence of the virus itself. Host factors together with viral factors determine the pathogenesis of HIV disease -- the complex events that lead to the destruction of an HIV-infected person's immune system.

Dr. Fauci, also the chief of the NIAID Laboratory of Immunoregulation, presents a synthesis of recent advances in the Dec. 12, 1996 issue of the journal Nature.

"In the past few months we have witnessed a rapid and truly remarkable convergence of information from diverse areas of AIDS research," says Dr. Fauci. "In particular, scientists have made important new discoveries about the pathogenesis of HIV disease. These findings have created unprecedented opportunities for deciphering the HIV disease process, and provide the scientific basis for developing new treatment and vaccine strategies."

"Taken together with other promising findings concerning the effectiveness of new combinations of anti-HIV drugs, recent insights into HIV pathogenesis have provided renewed optimism for people living with HIV disease as well as for the researchers working to understand and control this extraordinarily complex problem."

Among many important recent discoveries related to host factors in the pathogenesis of HIV disease, Dr. Fauci discusses the following:

NIAID is a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIAID conducts and supports research to prevent, diagnose and treat illnesses such as HIV disease and other sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis, asthma and allergies. NIH is an agency of the Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

References: Reference: Fauci AS. Host factors and the pathogenesis of HIV-induced disease. Nature 1996;384:529-534.

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