Re-awakened old genes help fight HIV

Deadly HIV
Deadly HIV

ORLANDO, Fla. (UPI) — University of Central Florida scientists say they have developed a vaginal cream containing a re-awakened protein that might prevent the transmission of HIV.

Assistant Professor Alexander Cole, who led the study, said his team revived a dormant gene found in humans and coaxed it to produce retrocyclin, a protein that resists the human immunodeficiency virus. Cole said aminoglycosides — drugs commonly used to fight bacterial infections — were used to trigger the production of the sleeping protein expressed by the retrocyclin gene.

“It could make a huge difference in the fight against HIV,” Cole said. “Much more work would be needed to demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of this approach. We would certainly have to have human trials, but these findings represent a promising step in that direction.”

HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. The disease, most often transmitted sexually, affects 4.3 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.
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The findings from the three-year investigation appear in the journal PLoS Biology.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 9th May 2009

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