Epidemics and medicine >> Glossary
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antiviral therapy: antiviral therapy means treating viral infections like HIV with drugs. The drugs do not kill the virus. However, they slow down the growth of the virus. When the virus is slowed down, so is HIV disease.
antigen: any substance that is recognized by a component of the immune system (i.e. antibodies, cells). Antigens are often agents such as invading bacteria or viruses. (See immunogen.)
anemia: shortage of red blood cells caused by damage to bone marrow
cell-membrane: structure that envelops a cell
cytotoxic: toxic to cells
dementia: chronic intellectual impairment with organic origins that affects a person's ability to function in a social or occupational setting.
enzyme: protein that catalyzes chemical reactions
granulocytopenia: shortage of white blood cells caused by damage to bone marrow
immunoglobulin: a protein substance produced by plasma cells to aid in fighting infection.
insomnia: inability to sleep
lactose intolerance: a disorder characterized by abdominal cramps and diarrhea after the consumption of food containing lactose (for example milk, ice cream).
lymphocytes: white blood cells that fight infection and disease.
myopathy: muscle pain and weakness
nucleotides: basic building blocks of RNA or DNA
pancreatitis: inflammation of the pancreas that can produce severe pain and debilitating illness.
Phase I vaccine trial: a clinical trial with a small number (usually 60 or less) of healthy volunteers, typically at low-risk for HIV infection. Phase I trials test a vaccine safety in humans, including its metabolic and pharmacological actions and any side effects seen with increasing doses.
Phase II vaccine trial: controlled clinical study to identify common short-term side effects and risks associated with the test vaccine and to collect expanded information on its immunogenicity. Phase II trials enroll some volunteers with characteristics similar to potential participants of an efficacy (Phase III) trial. They enroll up to several hundred participants and generally have two or more arms.
Phase III vaccine trial: large controlled study to determine the ability of a vaccine to produce a desired clinical effect on the risk of a given infection, disease, or other clinical condition at an optimally selected dose and schedule. These trials also gather additional information about safety needed to evaluate the overall benefit-risk relationship of the vaccine. Phase III trials usually include several hundred to several thousand volunteers.
prophylaxis: a preventive treatment
receptors: a molecule on the cell surface that serves as a recognition or binding site for a specific antigen, antibody, enzyme or other molecule.
reverse transcriptase enzyme: an enzyme that changes HIV's RNA into DNA
T-cell: a type of white blood cell and an important part of the immune system. They lead the attack against infections and kill cancer cells and cells infected with a virus.
triglycerides: a compound made up of a fatty acid and glycerol. Triglycerides make up most animal and vegetable fats and are the basic water-insoluble substances (lipids) that appear in the blood where they circulate. Elevations of triglyceride levels (particularly in association with elevated cholesterol) have been correlated with the development of atherosclerosis, the underlying cause of some heart diseases and stroke. In relation to HIV disease, there are some patients receiving combination therapies who develop significant elevation in their triglyceride levels.
wild type virus: the original type of HIV, unchanged by having developed any resistance to antiretroviral drugs.Top
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