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New Way to Combat AIDS
by admin on: May 9th, 2011

In the battle against acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), most pharmacological therapies are geared to stop the progress of the virus after it has already infected a cell. There is one exception to this type of therapy???enfuvirtide, a drug that is intended to prevent a pregnant mother from transmitting HIV to their child. This exception aside, there is a new approach to combating AIDS and HIV that has been published in an issue of the scientific journal Chemistry & Biology.

The article reports the results from a three years of study on various techniques designed to alter the fluidity of a cell???s membrane. A cell???s membrane is often referred to as a cell???s coating???a protective layer that preserves the contents of the cell from whatever may be ???outside??? of the cell. This article published in Chemistry & Biology was authored by a research group led by Mr. Felix Goni, director of the Biophysics Unit at the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas University of the Basque Country Mixed Centre.

What this research did was provide cells that were susceptible to infection with a form of ???armor.??? This armor would protect the cells of the body from being infected and subsequently utilized by HIV. Generally speaking, the AIDS virus attacks cells through contact between the viral cells membrane and a human cell. The viral cell creates a hole in the membrane of the human cell, and then infects the cell. These researchers are ???strengthening??? the membranes of the human cells such that it is more difficult for viral cells to infect them.

While the authors of this study report that the other methods for combating AIDS are working well, their approach demonstrates a new way of combating the AIDS virus. In fact, the senior author of this study commented that this approach to protecting cells can likely be applied to other viruses and may provide further therapies beyond AIDS.

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