NIH Scientists Identify New HIV-Suppressing Protein in the Blood of People Infected with HIVWe get excited when we read stories like this from the scientific field. Researchers led by Paolo Lusso, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the Section of Viral Pathogenesis in the Laboratory of Immunoregulation at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of NIH identified a new HIV-suppressing protein in the blood of people infected with the virus. In laboratory studies, the protein, called CXCL4 or PF-4, binds to HIV such that it cannot attach to or enter a human cell. The CXCL4 belongs to a family of molecules called chemokines that help regulate the movement of immune cells around the body. In the mid-1990s, four chemokines – three discovered by Dr. Lusso, Robert Gallo, M.D., and their colleagues – were found in laboratory experiments to function as HIV inhibitors. These chemokines as well as CXCL4 may regulate the level of virus replication in infected individuals and thus the pace at which HIV disease progresses.
According to Dr. Lusso, the site where CXCL4 binds to the outer coat of HIV seems to be different from other known vulnerable sites targeted by HIV-blocking antibodies and drugs. His team is working with scientists at the NIAID Vaccine Research Center to define the atomic-level crystal structure of this binding site, which potentially may play a role in the future development of HIV treatments or vaccines.
So developments are moving quickly in the research field at an astonishing pace here. Some major breakthroughs have to be just around the corner. The last cure was polio I believe which was a long time ago so the worlds due a cure in some disease. We’ll be watching.
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