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New anti-HIV protein could work like a vaccine

New anti-HIV protein could work like a vaccine

Posted 2/23/2015

Just a generic bacteria/virus/immune-system imageJust a generic bacteria/virus/immune-system imageIn the same week that an aggressive new strain of HIV was identified in Cuba, new hope has been found in research published in Nature that describes a protein that resists HIV infection so well it works like a vaccine.

As also reported by The BBC and The Independent, there is a lot of research still to be done, not least to ensure safety which is always a primary concern in the development of any new treatment or vaccine.

Current approaches to tackling HIV include using gene therapy to enable the body to express antibodies which resist HIV infection. But existing antibodies have limited effectiveness against this pernicious virus.

The new research focuses on a protein called eCD4-Ig which has been found to be more potent than any existing HIV antibody. Monkeys primed to express this protein through gene therapy resisted multiple infections with HIV for up to a year.

This research represents an important step forward in long-term, effective protection against HIV and may even help those already infected with the virus.