Friday, April 20, 2007

Human blood may provide a cure for AIDS

BBC reports that German scientists at the University of Ulm have identified a natural ingredient of human blood that prevents the HIV virus from infecting immune cells and multiplying. The molecule, which they termed Virus-Inhibitory Peptide (VIRIP), could bring out new types of effective treatment for HIV in the future. Adjusting its amino acid components boosted its anti-HIV potency by two orders of magnitude. Tests also showed that some derivatives of the molecule are highly stable in human blood plasma, and non-toxic even at very high concentrations. A synthetic version of VIRIP also found effective in blocking HIV, excluding the possibility that some other factor was responsible. VIRIP targets a sugar molecule, which HIV uses to infect a host cell.