Researchers at Tulane Medical School have discovered
a human retrovirus called the Human Intracisternal A-type
Particle, or HIAP. It is the first A-type retrovirus
to have been found in humans. Research data strongly
suggests that this virus is the cause of four well-known
autoimmune disorders. These disorders are lupus (systemic
lupus erythematosus), Sjögren's syndrome, Graves'
disease, and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.
The Autoimmune Disease Virus Assay (ADVA) detects antibodies
against HIAP. These antibodies appear in approximately
95% of patients with one or more of those four disorders
but in fewer than 2% of healthy individuals. The Company
believes that infection by this virus may produce the
differing symptoms of the disorders in different patients
because of genetic variations in the immune systems
of the patients.
The published results of a study of an AIDS drug in
Sjögren's patients suggest that anti-retroviral
drugs may act against this virus.
The ADVA is covered by patents in the U.S. and other
For more information about the HIAP-related disorders,
see these pages: