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A team of French researchers and clinicians has discovered a human retrovirus that may, they think, be linked to the etiology of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). The virus is similar but quite distinct, the investigators now believe, from the first human retrovirus to be discovered, the human T-cell leukemia virus (HTLV). HTLV was initially described three years ago by Robert Gallo, MD, of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md, and is now thought possibly to be causally associated with AIDS.
A retrovirus is an RNA virus containing the enzyme reverse transcriptase, which enables the virus to transcribe its single strand of RNA into double-stranded DNA that can then integrate into the host cell's genome.
The "French" retrovirus has so far been detected in four of six patients with a multiple lymphadenopathy syndrome, believed to be a possible prodrome of AIDS, and has therefore been named "lymphadenopathy virus" (LAV)
Maurice J. AIDS investigators identify second retrovirus. JAMA. 1983;250(8):1010–1015. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03340080006003
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