HIV-1 VIRUS (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Social Issues - Health)

News-CRUX-10     26th September 2023        

Context: Recently, researchers at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in Bhopal identified a Circular RNA virus(ciTRAN), whose role in HIV-1 virus replication has remained unclear for a long time, and also developed a molecule that could hinder viral transcription.

Key Points

  • Benefit of the research: Establishing how ciTRAN modulates the virus’s transcription process, could potentially lead to novel drugs and therapies to fight HIV-1.
  • Transcription: It is the synthesis of RNA from a DNA template where the code in the DNA is converted into a complementary RNA code. 
  • TranslationIt is the synthesis of a protein from an mRNA template where the code in the mRNA is converted into an amino acid sequence in a protein.

HIV-1 Virus

  • About: HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, which is a virus that attacks the immune system in the human body.
  • Target: It primarily targets and damages CD4 immune cells, which are essential for the body's ability to fight infections and diseases.
  • Transmission: Exchange of certain bodily fluids such as blood, semen, vaginal fluids, and breast milk.
  • Infection: Tuberculosis and fungal infections, severe bacterial infections and some cancers
  • HIV-1 viral protein R (VpR): It is a multifunctional protein that plays specific roles at multiple stages of the HIV-1 viral life cycle and affects anti-HIV functions of the immune cells


  • About: It is a nucleic acid present in all living cells that has structural similarities to DNA
  • RNA is most often single-stranded
  • An RNA molecule has a backbone made of alternating phosphate groups and sugar ribose.
  • Different types of RNA in cells: Messenger RNA (mRNA), ribosomal RNA (rRNA) and transfer RNA (tRNA).