Vertical transmission of HIV
Why do only 25-40% of the babies of HIV positive mothers become infected? Why not all the babies? What controls infectivity of the fetus in utero? These are questions being explored in patients who are pregnant and HIV positive. In vitro models of human placenta are used to study how the placenta may modulate HIV infection in utero. Certain strains of HIV-1 can selectively infect the human placenta, while others do not. Molecular techniques are being used - Real Time - PCR, ISPCR - to determine which cells are being infected. With these models we can test how anti-HIV therapies may best prevent the vertical transmission of HIV as well as produce toxicity in the human placenta.
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