Dr. Stephen Barr at the university of Alberta has been researching genetic response to interferons, especially in the context of HIV/AIDS. He found a gene a few years ago, TRIM22 that is activated by interferons, but they just learned that this drug will chemically react with gp120 to block the virus in cells to prevent further viruses from entering the body. This could be very useful in drug development! Since its genetic, it might have less side effect than other antiretrovirals.
"TRIM22 is one of hundreds of genes turned on by interferons, chemicals produced by our immune syst"em to combat viral infections.
“It’s been known for a long time that interferon treatment of cells can block HIV infection, but nobody really knew how or what the genes were that were involved,” Barr explained.
“We found that TRIM22 was turned on quite a bit in response to interferons [...], and our later studies showed that [it] actually blocked [HIV] by trapping the virus within cells so it can’t get out to infect other cells.”