To establish whether efficient suppression of virus replication in HIV-2-infected individuals is associated with low replicative capacity of HIV-2, replication kinetics of HIV-2 variants from long-term aviremic individuals was analyzed and compared with that of the relatively slow-replicating HIV-1 variants from asymptomatics and long-term nonprogressors (AS/LTNP). On average, HIV-2 from aviremic individuals had lower replication rates than HIV-1 variants from AS/LTNP in cells of 8 donors (0.45 log10 [range 0.14-0.77] vs. 0.58 log10 [range 0.32-0.99] pg RT/ml/day, P = 0.036). The relatively low replication rate of HIV-2 compared to HIV-1 variants was not related to different sensitivities to inhibition by CD8+ T cells or different degrees of infectivity. HIV-2 replication rates increased with progressive infection and with switch from CCR5 to CXCR4 usage. The relatively low replicative capacity of HIV-2 variants from aviremic individuals likely contributes to the low viral load and benign course of infection in these individuals.

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Department of Virology

Blaak, H., van der Ende, M., Boers, P., Schuitemaker, H., & Osterhaus, A. (2006). In vitro replication capacity of HIV-2 variants from long-term aviremic individuals. Virology, 353(1), 144–154. doi:10.1016/j.virol.2006.05.029