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Research Suggests a New Focus for AIDS Vaccine Strategies

February 9, 2010

Media Contacts

Emily Rios, 404-727-7732,; Lisa Newbern, 404-727-7709,

Researchers at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center and the University of Pennsylvania have confirmed CD8+ lymphocytes have an important effect in reducing the level of virus replication in rhesus macaques infected with SIV, a virus closely related to HIV.

“Our analysis of the lifespan of cells that are infected by SIV, conducted using a well-established mathematical model, indicates that this lifespan is similar whether or not CD8+ lymphocytes are present in the body of the SIV-infected macaques,” said Guido Silvestri, M.D., Yerkes affiliate researcher.

“This suggests CD8+ lymphocytes suppress virus replication in a way that is much more complex than simply killing the infected cells, and capitalizing on those complexities may be useful in the design of an AIDS vaccine,” continued Silvestri.

The study is available in PLoS Pathogens. A similar study conducted by researchers from the UC Davis Health System and UC San Francisco reached the same conclusions, underscoring the importance of the finding.

The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service. Its components include the Emory University School of Medicine, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, and Rollins School of Public Health; Yerkes National Primate Research Center; Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University; and Emory Healthcare, the largest, most comprehensive health system in Georgia. Emory Healthcare includes: The Emory Clinic, Emory-Children's Center, Emory University Hospital, Emory University Hospital Midtown, Wesley Woods Center, and Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital. The Woodruff Health Sciences Center has a $2.5 billion budget, 17,600 employees, 2,500 full-time and 1,500 affiliated faculty, 4,700 students and trainees, and a $5.7 billion economic impact on metro Atlanta.

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