Researchers Find a Way to Protect Cells from HIV

HIV

Researchers discovered how to offer a better protection of cells against the HIV virus

A team of scientists from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in California claim to have discovered a way in which cells can become HIV-resistant. They developed some sort of vaccine which provides protection for the cells and prevents them from being attacked by the HIV virus.

Jia Xie, the senior scientist of TSRI, explained how this so-called vaccine works. Actually, it is not a shot in the general way, but rather a way of administering a vaccine directly to the cells. This is able to protect the cells from the virus for an extended period of time.

They do not plan to stop here, as they hope they can develop a way to keep the HIV virus under control in patients who already suffer from AIDS. They want to make this possible without the need of further medication.

Sticking antibodies to cells to protect them from the virus

Researchers want to administer antibodies which fight the HIV virus to white cells. Thus, they will be able to obtain a population of cells which is immune to the virus. The analysis showed that these antibodies remain stuck to the cells they are administered to. This creates a protective barrier against HIV. Also, these cells have the power to replace those which were already affected by the virus.

The previous method of treating the disease involved the administering of unbound antibodies. They did not stick to any cells and were just floating around, thus their effectiveness was not perfect. This new method involving bound antibodies offered more positive results than the previous one.

Preparing the vaccine for testing on patients

Dr. Richard Lerner is the leading scientist of the project. He wants to start a collaboration with researchers from the Center for Gene Therapy to perform more tests on their findings and see what else needs to be done until they can declare their experiment 100 percent successful. They need to make sure that everything is in accordance with the existent regulations before they start testing the vaccine on patients.

If a person contracts the HIV virus, they do not automatically develop AIDS. This happens only if the infection remains untreated, but it can still have terrible consequences. Thus, if the immune cells receive this protection against the virus, patients are no longer in danger of developing AIDS.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

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