CD4 Hunter
Deals with science
  Mobile game educates player how HIV-1 binds and infects CD4+T cells in the human body during infection
Intended for high school // university
Available on Android // iOS
Cost free
Developed by Drexel University (external)
Website at (external)
Play this game!
on its own website

CD4 Hunter

Search. Attach. Invade. Multiply. Repeat. That’s your goal as an HIV virion, a CD4 Hunter™. How many target cells can you infect before you run out of time?

Stay tuned for more games about other microbes that threaten our health.

Follow us on Twitter: @Drexel_IMMID, #IMMID, #CD4Hunter Visit our website:

Game Features: CD4 Hunter is a fast-paced, educational mini-game in which players take on the role of a human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) virion. By immersing real science within simple game play, users learn about the first step of HIV-1’s fascinating and complex replication cycle: binding and attachment. CD4 Hunter invites players to enter the bloodstream and grow their viral population by infecting specific target cells, while evading the immune system.

Download CD4 Hunter for free to: • Learn complex science through fast-paced and addictive game play; • Hunt for target cells in the human bloodstream; • Control and grow your viral population; and • Face antibody attacks as the immune system fights infection.

Learning Goals: CD4 Hunter is the first in a series of mini-games to be developed by the Institute for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Disease at Drexel University College of Medicine, to introduce players to the dynamic world of infectious disease. CD4 Hunter was designed to supplement learning about the multi-stage process of the HIV-1 replication cycle, through interactive gameplay. This app is intended for use in biomedical science curriculum in higher education. Users apply knowledge about the biological processes involved during HIV-1 replication to advance in the game. CD4 Hunter focuses on meeting the following learning objectives:

  1. Identify gp120 as a basic element of HIV-1 structure and apply knowledge about its function in the process of viral binding and entry.

  2. Identify CD4+ T cells as targets for HIV-1 infection in humans and apply knowledge about their role in viral pathogenesis.

  3. Identify and match the molecules on the surface of HIV-1 (i.e., gp120) and T cells (i.e., CD4+ receptor, and CCR5 and CXCR4 co-receptors) involved in viral binding and entry.

  4. Apply concepts of viral tropism and immune evasion mechanisms to complete the HIV-1 infection cycle in CD4+ T cells.

Credits: Executive Producer and Consultant Brian Wigdahl, PhD Chair, Department of Microbiology and Immunology (M&I); and Executive Director, Institute for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Disease (IMMID), Drexel University College of Medicine

Subject Matter Expert and Project Supervisor
Sandra Urdaneta-Hartmann, MD, PhD, MBA Assistant Professor of M&I; and Director, the Center for Business and Program Development at IMMID, Drexel University College of Medicine

Game Designer Carla Louise Brown, PhD Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of M&I and IMMID, Drexel College of Medicine

Programmer and Artist Vincent Mills Co-op student at M&I and IMMID, Game Art and Production Program, Drexel University College of Media Arts and Design (Class of 2018)

Animator and Artist Andrew Dean Bishop Co-op student at M&I and IMMID, Animation and Visual Effects, Drexel University College of Media Arts and Design (Class of 2018)

SPECIAL THANKS TO: Subject Matter Experts Fred Krebs, PhD; William Dampier, PhD; Michael Nonnemacher, PhD; Vanessa Pirrone, PhD; Michael Wagner, PhD; and Mary Ann Comunale.

Beta Testers Microbiology and Immunology Department graduate students Drexel University Entrepreneurial Game Studio

*** Please help us improve this game by reporting any bugs to [email protected]. We welcome feedback and suggestions for upgrades and improvements. ***

©2017 Drexel University

Video of CD4 Hunter


Expert Reviews
By scientists and teachers
11 / 15
3 / 5
4 / 5
4 / 5
Player Reviews
By everyone else (and you!)
11 / 15
3 / 5
4 / 5
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Expert Reviews

Receptors on Cells!

February 28, 2018

Melanie Stegman

Melanie Stegman
I am a biochemist, making games to teach the invisible bits of cell biology.

Are you interested in how viruses get inside our cells? Wonder why viruses affect only some of our cells? Or why viruses affect different people differently? When you play CD4 Hunter you are getting a lesson in Molecular Virology.

The game is challenging, often your efforts are defeated by random events, and targets you think can reach you run out of time for... And well, this is the realistic experience of a HIV Virus. Viruses cannot see, and they can't change direction: viruses actually bounce around randomly and suffer many many more defeats that you will as you play. However, as we know, viruses manage to infect us and the consequences are devastating when the virus is HIV or other viruses that can destroy our cells.

The player can drag the virus around, which a virus cannot do in real life. Also, in real life, thousands of virus particles would be bouncing around... But you are able to see how the virus molecules stick to the CD4 receptors on the T Cells. This game is a great start toward making a mobile game based on a simulation of molecular reality. I say, play it and be I spurred to create the next one!

Fun rating: 3 out of 5

Learning rating: 4 out of 5

Science rating: 4 out of 5


11 / 15

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