Cahiers d'études et de recherches francophones / Santé


AIDS and HIV infections: hypothesis of transmissible cofactors Volume 1, issue 1, Avril 1991

hôpital de l’Institut Pasteur, département des maladies infectieuses et tropicales, 211, rue de Vaugirard, 75015 Paris, France, unité d’oncologie virale, département du SIDA et des rétrovirus, Institut Pasteur, 28, rue du Docteur-Roux, 750158 Paris, France.
  • Page(s) : 47-51
  • Published in: 1991

The isolation of the retrovirus HIV and the partial demonstration of its role in the pathogenesis of AIDS are important steps in understanding this new disease and have given impetus to important lines of research aimed at controlling the epidemic. However, the origin of the disease is poorly understood and the mechanisms involved in the onset of AIDS are still unknown. The possibility that other factors (viral or bacterial cofactors, mycoplasmas, nutrition, stress, behaviour, etc.) may contribute to the natural history of the infection has not been excluded. Studies of the natural history of HIV 1 infection show that there are wide variations in the rate at which different individuals progress from acute infection to clinically overt disease. Similarly, there are wide differences in clinical response to therapy despite the in-vitro efficacy of some drugs against HIV. We summarize recent data suggesting that viral cofactors (CMV, Herpes virus and HHV 6, HTLV 1) or mycoplasmas also play a role in the pathogenesis of AIDS. Prospective studies are required to determine the specific roles of these candidate cofactors in the natural history of HIV infection.