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Article
Nature 373, 117 - 122 (12 January 1995); doi:10.1038/373117a0

Viral dynamics in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infection

Xiping Wei*, Sajal K. Ghosh*, Maria E. Taylor*, Victoria A. Johnson, Emilio A. Emini, Paul Deutsch§, Jeffrey D. Lifson, Sebastian Bonhoeffer, Martin A. Nowak, Beatrice H. Hahn*, Michael S. Saag & George M. Shaw*£

Divisions of *Hematology/Oncology and Infectious Diseases, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 613 Lyons-Harrison Research Building, 701 South 19th Street, Birmingham, Alabama 35294, USA
Departments of Antiviral Research and §Clinical Pharmacology, Merck Research Laboratories, West Point, Pennsylvania 19486, USA
Division of HIV and Exploratory Research, Genelabs Technologies Inc., Redwood City, California 94063, USA
Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Oxford 0X1 3PS, UK
£To whom correspondence should be addressed.

The dynamics of HIV-1 replication in vivo are largely unknown yet they are critical to our understanding of disease pathogenesis. Experimental drugs that are potent inhibitors of viral replication can be used to show that the composite lifespan of plasma virus and virus-producing cells is remarkably short (half-life ˜2 days). Almost complete replacement of wild-type virus in plasma by drug-resistant variants occurs after fourteen days, indicating that HIV-1 viraemia is sustained primarily by a dynamic process involving continuous rounds of de novo virus infection and replication and rapid cell turnover.

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