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Human Immunodeficiency Virus

Essay by   •  March 6, 2011  •  Essay  •  491 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,017 Views

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Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a retrovirus

Retrovirus: They are enveloped viruses possessing an RNA genome, and replicate via a DNA intermediate. Retroviruses rely on the enzyme reverse transcriptase to perform the reverse transcription of its genome from RNA into DNA, which can then be integrated into the host's genome with an integrase enzyme. The virus then replicates as part of the cell's DNA.

While transcription was classically thought to only occur from DNA to RNA, reverse transcriptase transcribes RNA into DNA

HIV is transmitted through direct contact of a mucous membrane or the bloodstream with a bodily fluid containing HIV, such as blood, semen, vaginal fluid, preseminal fluid, and breast milk.[2][3] This transmission can come in the form of anal, vaginal or oral sex, blood transfusion, contaminated hypodermic needles, exchange between mother and baby during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding, or other exposure to one of the above bodily fluids.

Enzyme-Linked ImmunoSorbent Assay (An assay is a procedure where a property or concentration of an analyte is measured.), or ELISA, is a biochemical technique used mainly in immunology to detect the presence of an antibody or an antigen in a sample. In simple terms, in ELISA an unknown amount of antigen is affixed to a surface, and then a specific antibody is washed over the surface so that it can bind to the antigen. This antibody is linked to an enzyme, and in the final step a substance is added that the enzyme can convert to some detectable signal. It is a useful tool both for determining serum antibody concentrations (such as with the HIV test). The ELISA test, or the enzyme immunoassay (EIA), was the first screening test commonly employed for HIV. It has a high sensitivity.In an ELISA test, a person's serum is diluted 400-fold and applied to a plate to which HIV antigens have been attached. If antibodies to HIV are present in the serum, they may bind to these HIV antigens. The plate is then washed to remove all other components of the serum. A specially prepared "secondary antibody" вЂ" an antibody that binds to human antibodies вЂ" is then applied to the plate, followed by another wash. This secondary antibody is chemically linked in advance to an enzyme. Thus the plate will contain enzyme in proportion to the amount

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