For this good news Monday, we here at LGBG are happy to report on a research project by Australian scientists that has been successful in its method to modify a protein in HIV so that it protects cells against infection as opposed to replicating the diseased cells. This process potentially signals the cure for AIDS.
It is important to note that this treatment would not cure HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. As stated by Associate Professor David Harrich from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, “[w]hat 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 it does it quite strongly.” The very presence of this protein in immune cells provides a defense for patients to fight normal infections, which often prove deadly to those with AIDS. This cutting edge research is representative of a human gene research approach to treat diseases and disorders, as opposed to pharmaceutical therapies, which generally treat one protein or symptom.
To date, the tests on this procedure have been successful in the laboratory and now are expected to proceed to animal trials soon with early indications showing positive results. The scientists involved in this research expect some hurdles to overcome in the process, but they are confident that the results will be positive.
The potential impact of successful treatment of AIDS through protein modification is monumental. If this study is successful, it would mean that HIV patients possibly could undergo one treatment for their illness, thereby freeing them from multiple drug therapies, which in addition to being expensive, are physically burdensome and often carry their own serious side effects. This new treatment would greatly improve the quality of life for HIV patients. It is estimated by the World Health Organization that more than 34 million people are living with AIDS, and more than 1.8 million people died from AIDS-related illnesses in 2010.
This research project,if successful, will truly be a game changer in the health of people all over the world, signaling a greater opportunity to live green, be green.
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