AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses vol:21 issue:6 pages:575-579
Epidemiologically-linked HIV-1 transmission cohorts serve as excellent models to study HIV disease progression. The actual relationship between viral variability and HIV disease outcome can be extrapolated only through such rare epidemiologically linked HIV-1-infected cohorts. We present here a cohort of three patients with the source termed donor A (a nonprogressor) and two recipients B and C. Both recipients acquired HIV through blood transfusion from donor A and have progressed to AIDS. By analyzing 15 near full-length HIV- 1 genomes (8.7 kb each genome) from longitudinally collected peripheral blood cell samples (four time points for patient A, four for patient B, and seven from patient C), we were able to demonstrate transmission of HIV from donor A and epidemiologic linkage among members A, B, and C after 10 years of HIV infection. These analyses are novel in demonstrating that HIV-1-infected nonprogressing individuals bear the potential to transmit HIV-1 variants and that HIV variants, which led to a benign disease in a nonprogressor donor, were able to cause disease in other individuals. Overall, these studies highlight the utility of full genome sequencing in establishing epidemiologic linkage in a chronically infected HIV cohort after 10 years of initial infection.