Watch HIV Spread. Literally


In an incredible piece of video, a team of scientists from UC Davis and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine managed to record the spread of HIV. They “created a molecular clone of infectious HIV and inserted a protein into its genetic code which glows green when exposed to blue light,” which is what you’ll see in the video. The HIV-infected T-cell literally “grabs” a healthy cell when they coming in contact, forming a “virological synapse” bridge to transfer the virus. Why is this significant? Because this means of transfer was never known, explains the Telegraph. “For decades it was believed that HIV was mostly spread around the body through freely circulating particles, which attach themselves to a cell, take over its replication machinery and make multiple copies of themselves.”

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  • Al

    OMG those T-cells are having unprotected sex!

  • rogue dandelion

    Wow! I think that is cell to cell receptor mediated endocytosis.
    and they labeled it with green fluorescent protein-GFP.

  • jason

    Don’t fall for this nonsense about HIV. It’s largely scientific public relations designed to draw attention to a particular research group. Fact is, many viruses travel in a similar way. HIV is not particularly special. Don’t fall for the HIV industry.

  • TikiHead


    Fuck off.

  • Chaos

    No, really Jason. Fuck off.

  • AHEM

    Call it wishful watching, but is it me or that “captured” cell looks like it is in the clutches of a predator (well that it is)and trying to pry itself free?

  • Some Guy

    Jason is entirely correct. Not only has the means by which HIV enters t-cells been known for almost 20 years, but it is also far from a unique mechanism. Interestingly (to some), the bacterium thought to cause the Black Death exploits exactly the same transmembrane protein to avoid an immune system response. This whole thing is nothing more than a publicity stunt.

  • Maharajah


    Thank you for your post – you incited me to do some further research – and you were completely correct. Very well said. Something else that I found fascinating is that when I showed it to my other friends, the general consensus was that it garnered quite some interest in us to do further research. Even for just that one effect, I would say that there is something greatly positive to come out of this film.

  • Yikes!

    @jason: You obviously have no current information on the HIV genome. With that thinking you’d probably suggest that the “public relations designed” HIV to kill over 25 million men women and children. And who exactly are these non descript “public relations” people you speak of?

    Although I agree that this is how most viruses are spread, the complexity of HIV has not been fully understood, and this bit of progress in understanding the transmission now that it can be seen through a microscope, brings a better recognize and substantiate their claims of exactly how this particular lentivirus transfers into a tcell, which not up until was ever seen.

  • Vada

    Let’s be honest about what we’re all thinking here: Cells are gross!

  • Jamie

    You should see what happens when crystal meth is added to the t-cell.

Comments are closed.