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Sadofsky sadofsky at helix.nih.gov
Fri Dec 23 09:21:07 EST 1994

The chart shows and early rise in detectable virus, followed by a rise
in anti-HIV antibodies. This is accompanied by a fall (to zero) in
detectable virus. I stress detectable, because the assay is probably
either Western blot for free viral proteins in serum, or perhaps viral
culture from serum. The presence of antibody does successfully allow
the body to clear serum of (virtually) all free virus. This does NOT
mean the patient is cured. HIV survives by integrating its genome into
the chromosomes of the human cells. New virus is constantly being
generated, and can be transmitted from cell to cell without being
detectable in serum. Transmission between people is also frequently
associated with the transmission of cells (e.g. sperm or blood cells).
By the end stages of the graph the now very sick and immunocompromised
patient may lose the ability to generate enough antibody to keep the
serum swept clean of virus, and detectable virus rises again. 
This is a simplistic explanation, greater depth is recognized by

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