Friday November 22, 2019

‘Protein ERManI prevents HIV virus from replicating’

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New York: Researchers have discovered a protein that may slow the spread of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), thereby revealing a target for developing natural therapies against the deadly virus.

Picture credit: manipurupdate.com
Picture credit: manipurupdate.com

“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,” said study co-author Yong-Hui Zheng, associate professor of microbiology and molecular genetics at Michigan State University in the US.

The researchers found that the protein ERManI prevents the HIV virus from replicating.

“We now know that ERManI is an essential key, and that it has the potential as a antiretroviral treatment,” Zheng noted.

Currently, there is no cure for HIV-1. Once patients have it, they have it for life. While there are antiretroviral therapies available, they can only prolong life, albeit dramatically, but they cannot cure the disease.

Current drug treatments have to be taken for a lifetime, which causes side effects and many other issues, Zheng said.

“We see a way to treat this disease by helping the body protect itself,” he noted.

While it could be decades before an ERManI-based treatment can be prescribed for HIV-1 patients, these results provide a strong path for future research involving human cells, and later, clinical tests.

The next steps will be to test if HIV resistance can be promoted by increasing ERManI levels, Zheng pointed out.

The findings were detailed in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

(With inputs from IANS)

Next Story

People Living with HIV Significantly Elevates Risk of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

They found that people living with HIV are at an increased risk of contracting specific diseases and illnesses

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HIV, COPD, Disease
For the study, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, researchers combined data from 20 separate observational studies and examined 55 different illnesses. Pixabay

People living with HIV have a significantly elevated risk of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and coughs, heart disease, pregnancy mortality and sepsis, anemia and bone fractures, according to a study.

For the study, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, researchers combined data from 20 separate observational studies and examined 55 different illnesses.

They found that people living with HIV are at an increased risk of contracting specific diseases and illnesses, some of which are more commonly associated with ageing.

“By pooling data from different studies, we have been able to show for the first time that even with the rise in life expectancy amongst people living with HIV, this population now seems to be disproportionately affected by chronic illnesses often attributable to lifestyle issues such as smoking, drug and alcohol use or more commonly associated with an older population,” said study researcher Lee Smith from Anglia Ruskin University in the UK.

HIV, COPD, Disease
People living with HIV have a significantly elevated risk of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and coughs, heart disease, pregnancy mortality and sepsis, anemia and bone fractures. Pixabay

Although the number of people contracting HIV is declining, approximately 1.8 million people are infected every year and HIV remains one of the world’s major health issues.

In recent years, people with HIV have benefited from improved access to antiretroviral treatment. However, increased life expectancy and a lower immunity has meant higher levels of comorbidity, with people living with HIV also more likely to suffer from other illnesses.

The greater prevalence of age-associated diseases may be explained by the persistent immunodeficiency and inflammation connected with HIV. There are also adverse effects associated with antiretroviral treatment.

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Previous studies have also suggested that people with HIV in developed countries, as a population, often exhibit greater risk factors associated with non-AIDS related illnesses, such as smoking, drug use and alcohol use. (IANS)