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SCIENCE FILE | SCIENCE IN BRIEF

Research Suggests Key Indicator of AIDS' Progress in Children

May 16, 1996|From Times staff reports

The intensity of activity of the AIDS virus in the thymus may be the key indicator of whether an HIV infection will proceed rapidly in children, UCLA researchers report in the May 15 issue of the journal AIDS. Less aggressive forms of the AIDS virus attack immune cells in the thymus later in life, thus infecting fewer cells and resulting in a small impact on the body's defense system, according to Dr. Christel H. Uittenbogaart and colleagues.

The thymus, a small organ in the chest, plays a central role in providing T cells to the blood and lymph nodes. Drugs that attack the virus in the thymus could markedly slow AIDS progression in childhood, Uittenbogaart said.

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