Better understanding of the pathogenesis of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) would be greatly facilitated by a relevant animal model that uses molecularly cloned virus of defined sequence to induce the disease. Such a system would also be of great value for AIDS vaccine research. An infectious molecular clone of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) was identified that induces AIDS in common rhesus monkeys in a time frame suitable for laboratory investigation. These results provide another strong link in the chain of evidence for the viral etiology of AIDS. More importantly, they define a system for molecular dissection of the determinants of AIDS pathogenesis.
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