THE AUSTRALIAN, SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, QUEENSLAND INSTITUTE OF MEDICAL RESEARCH (Australia)
BRISBANE – Australian researchers believe they have found a way to halt the HIV virus from developing into AIDS.
Researchers from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research say they have found a “light switch” protein within the HIV virus that can be effectively turned off to stop HIV from developing into AIDS, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
Associate Professor David Harrich, from QIMR’s Molecular Virology Laboratory, has determined how to modify a protein in the HIV virus so that it prevents those infected by HIV from having any of its consequences – without drugs – writes the Australian.
For the moment, HIV patients require a heavy array of drug treatments to mitigate the effects of the virus. Without the treatment they develop AIDS.
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Artist's rendition of the AIDS virus, Wikipedia
"Essentially, this cell has the ability to protect the human immune system from the toxic effects of HIV. What it will do is prevent AIDS, " Associate Professor Harrich told the Australian.
“This is like fighting fire with fire,” he said in a press release. “I have never seen anything like it. The modified protein works every time.”
Harrich added that patients would still be infected with HIV. "It’s not a cure for the virus," he explained. "But the virus would stay latent, it wouldn’t wake up, so it wouldn’t develop into AIDS. With a treatment like this, you would maintain a healthy immune system,”
The findings are published Wednesday in the journal Human Gene Therapy.