Skip to main content

Preliminary results in HIV-1-infected patients treated with transfer factor (TF) and Zidovudine (ZDV)


The efficiency of HIV-1 specific transfer factor (TF) administration, combined with Zidovudine (ZDV), in asymptomatic persistent generalised lymphadenopaty, or AIDS related complex (ARC) patients was evaluated. Twenty patients were randomly assigned to receive only ZDV (1st group) or ZDV together with HIV-1-specific TF (2nd group). HIV-1-specific TF was administered orally at 2 × 107 cell equivalent daily for 15 days, and thereafter once a week for up to 6 months. There were no significant differences between the two groups in clinical evolution, red blood cells, haemoglobin, lymphocytes, CD20 subset, transaminases,β-2-microglobulin, p24 antigen. White blood cells, CD8 lymphocytes as well as IL-2 levels increased in the second group, while the CD4 subset increased in the first group. The combination treatment with ZDV and TF appeared to be safe and well tolerated. Furthermore, levels of serum cytokines were investigated in 10 patients (8 asymptomatic and 2 ARC) treated with ZDV, and compared with 5 patients of the 2nd group (3 asymptomatic and 2 ARC) treated with ZDV plus HIV-1-specific TF. Peripheral lymphocytes, CD4, CD8 subsets, IL-2, TNFα, IL-6, p24 antigen, IL-2 soluble lymphocyte receptors (sR), CD4sR, CD8sR and ß-2-microglobulin were evaluated at the baseline and at the 3rd month. The CD4 subset was not significantly different in the two groups, whilst IL-2 increased in the 2nd group receiving ZDV plus TF, suggesting an activation of the Th1 secretion pattern.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.



AIDS related complex




cell equivalent


cell-mediated immunity


Center for Disease Control


cytotoxic T lymphocytes






Karnofsky’s index






not significant




p24 Antigen


persistent generalised lymphadenopaty


Red blood cells


standard deviation


soluble receptor


Transfer factor

TNFα :

tumour necrosis factorα


white blood cells




  1. Kirkpatrick CH. Transfer Factor: perspectives in human and veterinary medicine. J Exp Path 1987; 3: 383–98.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Kirkpatrick CH, Rich RR, Smith TK. Effects of transfer factor on lymphocyte function in anergic patients. J Clin Inv 1972; 51: 2948.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Viza D, Lefesvre A, Patrasco M, Phillips J, Hebbrecht N, Laumond G, Vich JM. A preliminary report on three AIDS patients treated with anti-HIV specific transfer factor. J Exp Path 1987; 3: 653–59.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Viza D, Vich JM, Minarro A, Ablashi DV, Salahuddin SZ. Soluble extracts from a lymphoblastoid cell the modulate SAIDS evolution. J Virol Met 1988; 21: 241–253.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Langtry HD Campoli, Richards DM. Zidovudine: a review of its pharmaco dynamic and pharmacocinetic properties and therapeutic efficacy. Drugs 1989; 37: 408–50.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Levy JA. HIV pathogenesis and long-term survival. AIDS 1993; 7: 1401–10.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Robey E, Axel R. CD4: collaborator in immune recognition and HIV infection. Cell 1990; 47:377–431.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Clerici M, Shearer GM. A Th1-> Th2 switch is a critical step in the etiology of HIV infection. Immun Today 1991; 14: 107–111.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Romagnani S. Induction of Th1 and Th2 responses: a key role for the “normal” immune response? Immun Today 1992; 13: 379–82

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Cohen J. T cell shift: key to AIDS therapy? Science 1993; 262: 175–76.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Pantaleo G, Graziosi C, Fauci AS. The immunopathogenesis of human immunodeficiency virus infection. N Engl J Med. 1993; 328: 327–35.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Pizza G, Chiodo F, Gritti F, Raise F, Bodard L, Fudenberg HH, DeVinci C & Viza D. Preliminary clinical results using HIV 1-specific transfer factor. Biotherapy: this issue.

  13. Viza D, Boucheix CI, Césarini JP, Ablashi DV, Armstrong G, Levine P, Pizza G. Characterization of a human lymphoblastoid cell line, LDV/7, used to replicate transfer factor and immune RNA. Bio Cell 1982; 46: 1–10.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Viza D, Goust JM, Moulias R, Trejdosiewicz LK, Collard A & Müller-Bérat N. ‘In vitro’ production of transfer factor by lymphoblastoid cell lines. Transplan P 1975; VII (suppl. 1): 329–333.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Poli G. Kinter A, Justment JS, Kehrel JH, Bressler P, Stanley S, Fauci AS. Tumor necrosis factor alpha functions in an autocrine manner in the induction of human immnodeficiency virus expression. Proc natl Acad Sci 1990; 87: 782–5.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Osborn L, Kunkel S, Nabel GJ. Tumor necrosis factor alpha and interleukin 1 stimulate the HIV enhancer by activation on the NF-kB transcription factor. Proc Natl Acad Sci 1989, 86: 2336–40.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. Poli G, Kinter A, Justment JS, Kehrel JH, Bressler P, Stanley S, Fauci AS. Tumor necrosis factor alpha functions in an autocrine manner in the induction of human immunodeficiency virus expression. Proc Natl Acad Sci 1990; 87: 782–5.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. Agostini C, Zambello R, Trentin L, Garbisa S, Francia Di Celle P, Bulian P, Onisto M, Poletti V, Spiga L, Raise E, Foa’ R, Semenzato G. Alveolar macrophages from patients with AIDS and AIDS related complex constituvely synthetize and release tumor necrosis factor alpha. Am Rev Respir Dis 1991; 143: 195–201.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Amadori A, Zanarchi R, Mantovani A, Chieco Bianchi L. B cell activation during HIV-1 infection. cell to cell interaction and cytokine requirements. J Immunol 1991; 146: 57–62.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. Pantaleo G, Graziosi C, Demarest JF, Butini L, Montroni M, Fox CH, Orenstein JM, Kotler DP, Fauci AS. HIV infection is active and progressive in lymphoid tissue during the clinical latent stage of disease. Nature 1993; 362: 355–58

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Raise, E., Guerra, L., Viza, D. et al. Preliminary results in HIV-1-infected patients treated with transfer factor (TF) and Zidovudine (ZDV). Biotherapy 9, 49–54 (1996).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Key words

  • Cell-mediated immunity
  • HIV
  • Th1
  • Th2
  • transfer factor
  • zidovudine