An antiviral immune response turning against the host in pathogenic HIV infection.
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HIV infection leads to development of AIDS, a deadly immune deficiency in humans. This is in marked contrast with sooty mangabey monkeys, which have been the natural hosts of the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) for millions of years. Although high viral loads are present in these primates, they do not progress to AIDS. Sooty mangabeys do not show immune activation, and therefore antiviral immune activation itself, in combination with other factors, has been suggested as a cause of pathogenic infection. The insights from sooty mangabeys downregulating their immune responses against SIV may potentially be used to render HIV infection nonpathogenic in humans.