SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2018

Scientists explore body's natural defense to HIV

Scientists find natural defense fights HIV
Scientists find natural defense fights HIV | Courtesy of

An international team of scientists, some of whom are from Michigan State University, recently discovered that the body has a natural defense that fights against HIV.

Antiretroviral treatments, which aren’t vaccines, help the body to maintain control over HIV in the body, keeping the infection at low levels. HIV-1 patients sometimes need decades to receive prescriptions for a treatment based on ERManl which is a protein that stops the replication of the HIV virus. Despite the timing, the treatments offer a future for research that involves human cells.

"In earlier studies, we knew that we could interfere with the spread of HIV-1, but we couldn't identify the mechanism that was stopping the process," Yong-Hui Zheng, MSU associate professor of microbiology and molecular genetics and co-author of the study, said. "We now know that ERManI is an essential key, and that it has the potential as a antiretroviral treatment."

Now the researchers need to test whether HIV resistance is encouraged with higher ERManl levels.

"We see a way to treat this disease by helping the body protect itself," Zheng said. "That's why we continue to move our research forward, seemingly slowly at times, because finding a cure will take years. We feel that's it's important enough, on a world-wide scale, to dedicate our work to fighting this disease."

Further details are available in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

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Michigan State University

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