virology, especially retroviruses

Focus of research

Research line
The major focus of our group is HIV-1 pathogenesis, more specific the effect of dual HIV-1 infections. This research line started with the description of the first patient with a double HIV-1 superinfection, resulting in a triple infection with different subtype: B-B’-AE (van der Kuyl et al, NEJM 2005 352: 2557-9). Longitudinal analysis of the patient’s samples showed that all three strains remained present both in blood and seminal plasma for years and recombinant viruses were formed.
Studies using RNA- or retroviruses have indicated that superinfections and especially co-infections lead to an increase in viral fitness. We speculated that HIV-1 co- or superinfection, contributes to the process of fitness gain and possibly to higher virulence. Two HIV-1 positive patients, L and P, acquired an HIV-1 superinfection within half a year from their primary HIV-1 infection (Jurriaans et al, JAIDS 2008, 47:69-73), and were used in a study to compare the replicative fitness of the primary and superinfecting HIV-1 strains.