Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI)

Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI)

Issue: April 2012
March 07, 2012
1 min read

Acquiring GB virus C linked to lower mortality in HIV-positive patients

Issue: April 2012
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SEATTLE — GB virus C viremia is associated with lower mortality in HIV-positive individuals, according to researchers from the Blood Systems Research Institute in San Francisco.

According to the researchers, GB virus C can be transmitted sexually or parenterally and is prevalent among patients who receive blood products. Previous reports have shown that GB virus C inhibits HIV replication in vitro and in vivo.

“GB virus C is common among blood donors and recipients of blood products and is not associated with any human disease,” study researcher Farnaz Vahidnia, MD, PhD, MPH, staff scientist at the Blood Systems Research Institute, told Infectious Disease News. “Eight percent of our HIV- infected patients acquired GBV-C infection after transfusion.”

Data from the Viral Activation Transfusion Study (VATS), a randomized controlled trial of leukoreduced vs. nonleukoreduced transfusions to HIV-positive transfusion-naive patients were used. The data were obtained from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Blood samples from 489 patients were tested for GB virus C markers before and after transfusions.

GB virus C viremia was associated with a significant reduction in mortality among patients who were coinfected with the virus and HIV, after adjusting for highly active antiretroviral therapy status, HIV viral load and CD4 count at baseline (HR=0.42; 95% CI, 0.24-0.73). In a sub-cohort of patients who were negative for GB virus C at baseline, the risk of acquiring the infection increased by 8% for each unit of blood transfused.

The acquisition of GB virus C was also predicted by lower HIV viral load at baseline and the use of HAART. Acquiring GB virus C during transfusion was associated with lower mortality (HR=0.22; 95% CI, 0.08-0.58).

“Incident GBV-C infection was associated with a significant reduction in mortality in HIV-infected patients,” Vahidnia said. “Our findings confirm a direct protective effect of this common ‘commensal’ virus on HIV progression. Ongoing studies are planned to elucidate the mechanism underlying this interaction.”

For more information:

  • Vahidnia F. #217. Presented at: 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections; March 3-8, 2012; Seattle.

Disclosure: Dr. Vahidnia reports no relevant financial disclosures.

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