Thursday, February 19, 2015

Are We About To Win The Battle Against HIV?

A recent study published by Nature and conducted by The Scripps Research Institute claims to have identified a new, potent compound against HIV. This drug candidate is reported to be effective and powerful against all HIV strains.

The compound appears to be effective against HIV-1, HIV-2, and SIV. In the study, the drug candidate showed high efficacy against doses of virus higher than those that usually occur in human infections. This compound is not an antibody, but it retains high neutralizing ability against the virus. Consequently, it could be developed into a vaccine alternative.

According to the report, the anti-viral protein binds to two regions of the HIV virion simultaneously, preventing viral entry. The high binding affinity is a consequence of the protein’s structure, which mimics CCR5 (the CD4 receptor targeted by HIV).

Using comparative data, researchers found that this protein neutralizes HIV better than the best antibodies currently available against the virus.

This project reflects a culmination of scientific advances. In order to administer the drug candidate, the researchers used AAV, an orphan parvovirus with no disease associations. AAV integrates into cell genomes, allowing these cells to synthesize the anti-viral protein at protective levels.

Maybe we're closer to diminishing -- or eliminating -- the HIV/AIDS epidemic than we thought. 


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