Global health R&D at work in Wyoming
University of Wyoming (UW) researchers are studying how the HIV virus disarms the body’s ability to create an immune response. Infection with HIV results in a profound and selective loss of CD4+ T cells, an essential part of the human immune system. Although HIV has a direct effect on these cells, the virus also causes large numbers of uninfected cells to undergo a process of cell suicide that is critical to many normal functions. The UW scientists are investigating the complex interaction between HIV, CD4+ T cells, and HIV-induced cell death. Results of the research could lead to improved treatments for AIDS and other HIV-related co-infections. Since the beginning of the epidemic, at least 35 million people have died of AIDS. Sub-Saharan Africa remains the most severely affected, with nearly one in every 25 adults in the region living with HIV.