by Staff Writers
An Australian scientist said Wednesday he had discovered a way to turn the HIV virus against itself in human cells in the laboratory, in an important advance in the quest for an AIDS cure.
David Harrich from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research said he modified a protein in HIV that normally helps the virus spread, into a “potent” inhibitor.
The protein was introduced to immune cells targeted by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), where it slowed the reproduction of the virus after infection.
The experiments were conducted in a lab dish, and thorough testing on lab animals is needed before any human trials can begin.
“I have never seen anything like it. The modified protein works every time,” said Harrich.
Harrich’s team, whose study is published in the journal Human Gene Therapy, said the modified protein dubbed Nullbasic inhibited virus replication about eight- to ten-fold in some cells.
“If this research continues down its strong path, and bear in mind there are many hurdles to clear, we’re looking at a cure for AIDS,” the researcher said.
Commenting on the study, Frank Wegmann, an Oxford University HIV vaccine researcher, told AFP a Nullbasic-based drug was “quite far from application”.
Creating a drug would be challenging, he said, as it would require introducing “designed” information into the genes of people to be treated.
“The immune cells of the blood are the primary cells which are infected by HIV and if you want to have a cure with this new protein, you need to… get every immune cell to make this protein,” he explained.
- Scientists In Australia Tout “Potential Cure For AIDS” (queerty.com)
- Australian Study Turns HIV Against Itself (zen-haven.com)
- Scientists hail ‘potential cure for AIDS’ (abc.net.au)
- Potential HIV treatment pioneered (bigpondnews.com)
- Australian scientist claims HIV/AIDS breakthrough (crofsblogs.typepad.com)
- Australian study arrests HIV progress to AIDS (capitalfm.co.ke)
- Australian study arrests HIV progress to AIDS (rappler.com)
- Australia study points to potential cure for AIDS (thenewstribe.com)
- Australian Researchers Believe They Have Found Cure for AIDS (medicaldaily.com)
- Australia: Queensland researcher David Harrich develops gene therapy which could stop HIV from turning deadly (dailyqueernews.wordpress.com)