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Safe and effective HIV vaccines offer the most hope of stopping the spread of HIV disease worldwide Although HIV transmission is in theory largely preventable in practice without the development of an effective vaccine HIV will continue to infect millions throughout the world The ideal vaccine for worldwide use will be inexpensive to manufacture provide protection against all subtypes of HIV require minimal if any boost protect against all methods of spread of HIV for years and be easily administered stable to heat and widely accessible Merigan et al 1999 An understanding of the molecular and immunological mechanisms of HIV pathogenesis is necessary in the development of a successful HIV vaccine Both humoral and cell-mediated immune responses specific for HIV gene products have been identified This essay describes immune responses to HIV and recent advances towards the development of a safe protective vaccine against HIV HIV is a member of the lentivirus family of animal retroviruses which are capable of long term latent infection of cells and short term cytopathic effects Abbas et al 2003 A HIV virion contains two identical strands of ribonucleic acid RNA and associated enzymes including reverse transcriptase integrase and protease packaged within a core composed of p24 capsid protein with a surrounding p17 protein matrix all surrounded by a phospholipid bilayer envelope derived from the host cell Abbas et al 2003 Virally encoded membrane proteins gp41 and gp120 are bound to the envelope Interaction of an HIV surface glycoprotein gp 120 with CD4 is necessary but not sufficient for entry Letvin 2002 Two major types of HIV have been identified as HIV-1 and HIV-2 HIV Infection begins when the envelope glycoprotein Env of a viral particle binds to both CD4 and a coreceptor that is a member of the chemokine receptor family Abbas et al 2003 Coreceptor binding induces a conformational change in gp41 that exposes a hydrophobic region called the fusion peptide that inserts into the cell
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