We examined the HIV-inhibitory effects previously found to be associated with scrub typhus infection. Individual 500 ml units of plasma from donors with mild scrub typhus were safety-tested, subjected to virucidal heat treatment, and administered to 10 HIV-1-infected recipients who were not receiving antiretroviral drugs. HIV-1 copy number fell threefold or more in two recipients, and virus burden was reduced for 8 weeks in 70% (7/10) of recipients of a single plasma infusion, compared with the mean of three pre-infusion measurements. Scrub typhus donor plasma inhibited HIV-1 in vitro compared with normal human plasma and media controls. In the clearest in vivo response, reduction in viral load was accompanied by clinical improvement, a switchback from the syncytiainducing to the non-syncytia-inducing phenotype, and decreases in CD8 cells and IL-6 levels. Scrub typhus infections can generate heat-stable, transferable plasma factors that exert prolonged anti-HIV effects. Whether variability in the results is due to different scrub typhus infections, different HIV infections or different individual responses, is unclear.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Medicine