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Anti-HIV drugs cannot eliminate the virus, but well chosen combinations could force it to become less deadly.
People infected with HIV-1 don't harbor just one virus. Because of HIV's vast replicative capacity and its inherent tendency to mutate, HIV infection is characterized by the presence of a swarm of genetic variants that researchers call quasispecies.
Within this swarm is a predominant virus population with a genetic makeup that AIDS expert Douglas D. Richman of the University of California, San Diego, calls the master sequence.
"In each individual [the master sequence] has different virulence characteristics and different advantages in the face of …