Research in Focus
New Study Examines Less Virulent HIV-2 for Clues about HIV/AIDS

Dr. Daniel Malamud

NYUCD professor Dr. Daniel Malamud hopes to uncover new clues about HIV's progression to AIDS by studying HIV-2, a related virus that causes a mild, non-lethal form of AIDS.

In a new study, Dr. Antonio Mata of the University of Lisbon and Dr. Malamud, a Professor of Basic Science & Craniofacial Biology and Director of the HIV/AIDS Research Program at NYU, are examining whether HIV-2 is simply a weaker version of its lethal cousin, HIV-1, or whether it possesses unique characteristics that limit its ability to cause serious illness. The Lisbon-NYU team will compare the two viruses by analyzing blood and saliva from subjects infected with one or the other of the viruses.

HIV-2 cases were initially found mainly in West Africa, but in recent years the virus has spread to Europe. Investigators at the University of Lisbon School of Dentistry will recruit West African immigrants to Portugal as study subjects, along with Europeans who apparently became infected with the virus while living in West Africa. Dr. Antonio Mata, an Associate Professor of Oral Biology, and Dr. Joanna Marques, a student in the PhD in Oral Biology program in Lisbon, will ship blood, saliva, and bacterial samples to New York for analysis by Dr. Malamud and his NYUCD team, including Ms. Cheryl Barber, an Associate Research Scientist in Basic Science & Craniofacial Biology; Dr. Gene Fisch, a Research Professor of Epidemiology & Health Promotion; Dr. Robert G. Norman, a Research Associate Professor of Epidemiology & Health Promotion; Ms. Amy Moore, a Data Manager in Epidemiology & Health Promotion; Dr. Patricia Corby, Assistant Professor of Periodontology and Implant Dentistry and Assistant Director of the Bluestone Center for Clinical Research; Dr. Joan Phelan, Professor and Chair of the Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology, Radiology & Medicine; and Dr. Yihong Li, Professor of Basic Science & Craniofacial Biology.

A relatively small number of HIV-2 cases have been reported in the United States. Dr. Malamud said a better understanding of HIV-2 pathogenesis could help efforts to keep the spread of HIV-2 in check, and could provide clues to how the body deals with HIV-1 as compared to HIV-2.