HIV and Computer Malware Eerily Similar

HIV progression in your body is the same way computer worms and malwares infect your computer, says a group of researchers.

A new report from the scientists shows that they have established a new model highlighting HIV progression and depicted the disease spreading like a virus would seep into a computer. HIV spreads throughout the body either through the blood stream or between the cells directly.

When they noticed this, the team of researchers employed various network security experts from the University College London (UCL) to come up with a hybrid spreading model. They used data gathered from 17 HIV patients, which was then utilized to finish the model.

Ostensibly, CD+4 T-cells maintain an active and crucial role within the immune system by acting as safeguards against diseases. HIV does infect these cells and diminishes their number once the disease advances. Once the immune system shuts down then AIDS begins its destructive nature.


Co-senior author of the study, Benny Chain, averred that HIV cells discovered in the bloodstream always start out in low numbers so an infection that spreads around the bloodstream is not enough to cause AIDS. Chain noted that it’s only possible as soon as it reaches a specific part of the body and then the HIV turns to cell-to-cell transfer to successful initiate the virus.

As part of present guidelines created by the World Health Organization (WHO), it is recommended that HIV treatment should only commence when T-cells reach a certain level following the infection. With that being said, the model that researchers produced suggested that treatment should only be started once an infection is detected in order to prevent AIDS from completing its objective.

“The number of HIV cells in the bloodstream is always relatively low, and our model shows that HIV spread through the bloodstream alone would not be enough to cause AIDS. It is likely that when HIV gains a foothold somewhere with a high T cell population, such as the gut, it uses a cell-to-cell transfer mechanism to efficiently spread directly between them,” added Chain, who is a professor in infection and immunity, in a statement.

“As such, if HIV has already spread to an area rich in T cells by the time treatment begins, preventing its spread through the bloodstream will not stop AIDS. Our model suggests that completely blocking cell-to-cell transfer would prevent progression to AIDS, highlighting the need to develop new treatments.”

The results of the study were published in the journal PLOS Computational Biology.