Australian Scientists Close to Finding AIDS Cure Using HIV Virus
Australian researchers have found a way to turn HIV against itself -- potentially putting an end to the deadly virus.
The Queensland Institute of Medical Research announced on Jan. 17 a group of its scientists has been able to modify a protein in HIV, so that instead of replicating in the human body the modified protein protects human cells from the immune deficiency virus, ABC Australia reports.
"I consider that this is fighting fire with fire," Associate Professor David Harrich, one of the researchers involved in the breakthrough, told ABC.
"What we've actually done is taken a normal virus protein that the virus needs to grow, and we've changed this protein, so that instead of assisting the virus, it actually impedes virus replication and does it quite strongly."
While HIV would still be contagious, this would allow the immune system of infected people to function normally, eliminating any of the current risks of living with the virus.
Harrich said that animal trials are scheduled to start this year. A treatment could be available in about a decade.
"I think what people are looking for is basically a means to go on and live happy and productive lives with as little intrusion as possible," he said.
"You either have to eliminate the virus infection or alternatively you have to eliminate the disease process and that's what this could do, potentially for a very long time."