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Deactivation of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 in medium by copper oxide-containing filters.


Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) can be transmitted through breast-feeding and through contaminated blood donations. Copper has potent biocidal properties and has been found to inactivate HIV-1 infectivity. The objective of this study was to determine the capacity of copper-based filters to inactivate HIV-1 in culture media. Medium spiked with high titers of HIV-1 was exposed to copper oxide powder or copper oxide-impregnated fibers or passed through copper-based filters, and the infectious viral titers before and after treatment were determined. Cell-free and cell-associated HIV-1 infectivity was inhibited when exposed to copper oxide in a dose-dependent manner, without cytotoxicity at the active antiviral copper concentrations. Similar dose-dependent inhibition occurred when HIV-1 was exposed to copper-impregnated fibers. Filtration of HIV-1 through filters containing the copper powder or copper-impregnated fibers resulted in viral deactivation of all 12 wild-type or drug-resistant laboratory or clinical, macrophage-tropic and T-cell-tropic, clade A, B, or C, HIV-1 isolates tested. Viral inactivation was not strain specific. Thus, a novel means to inactivate HIV-1 in medium has been developed. This inexpensive methodology may significantly reduce HIV-1 transmission from "mother to child" and/or through blood donations if proven to be effective in breast milk or plasma and safe for use. The successful application of this technology may impact HIV-1 transmission, especially in developing countries where HIV-1 is rampant.

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