The pandemic of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), caused by the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), requires rapid development of effective therapy and prevention. Analysis of candidate anti-HIV-1 drugs in animals is problematic since no ideal animal model for HIV-1 infection and disease exists. For many reasons, including small size, availability of inbred strains, immunological reagents, and lymphokines, murine systems have been used for in vivo analysis of antiretroviral agents. Here we review currently available murine models involving HIV-1 in transgenic mice and in chimeric mice reconstituted with human cells, as well as murine systems using retroviruses of the subfamily Oncovirinae rather than Lentivirinae. We report our results on various antiretroviral treatment strategies, including chemoprophylaxis after acute retroviral exposure, therapy of chronic viremia, quantitative analysis of combination therapy, and therapy during pregnancy and in the neonatal period aimed at preventing viremia in the offspring. Due to our highly effective postexposure treatment protocols with 3′-azido-3′-deoxythymidine (zidovudine) combined with recombinant human interferon-αA/D, retrovirus-inoculated mice developed immunity to the virus to which they were exposed, which will allow us to determine the nature of protective antiretroviral immunity in inbred mice.

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Presented at the “XIVth Symposium of the International Association for Comparative Research on Leukemia and Related Diseases,” October 8–12, 1989, Vail, CO.

Supported by NIH Contract NO1-AI-72664, NIH Grants UO1-AI-24845 and RO1AI29797-01, and a Faculty Research Award from the American Cancer Society to R. M. R., and NIH Grant U01-AI-26056 to T-C. C.

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