Tuesday June 19, 2018

‘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)

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Newly Developed Tool to Battle HIV in Women

This novel tool may soon help women to combat HIV transmission

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HIV Aids is a deadly disease.
HIV AIDS

Scientists have developed a new tool that can potentially help protect women from being infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

The tool — a vaginal implant — decreases the number of cells that the HIV virus can target in a woman’s genital tract.

Unlike conventional methods of HIV prevention such as condoms or anti-HIV drugs, the novel implant takes advantage of some people’s natural immunity to the virus.

The deadly disease of HIV is now preventable.
HIV is now preventable.

HIV infects the body by corrupting T-cells that are mobilised by the immune system when the virus enters a person’s body.

“We know that some drugs taken orally never make it to the vaginal tract, so this implant could provide a more reliable way to encourage T-cells not to respond to infection and therefore more reliably and cheaply prevent transmission,” said Emmanuel Ho, professor at the University of Waterloo in Canada.

When the T-cells stay resting and do not attempt to fight the virus they are not infected and the HIV virus is not transmitted between people.

When the T-cells stay resting, it is referred to as being immune quiescent.

However, “what we don’t know yet is if this can be a stand-alone option for preventing HIV transmission or if it might be best used in conjunction with other prevention strategies”, Ho added, in a paper appearing in the Journal of Controlled Release.

Also Read: Severe Symptoms Of Menopause Might Soar The Risk Of Heart Diseases In Women

The implant is composed of a hollow tube and two pliable arms to hold it in place.

It contains hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) which is disseminated slowly through the porous material of the tube and absorbed by the walls of the vaginal tract.

The implants were tested in an animal model and a significant reduction in T-cell activation was observed, meaning that the vaginal tract was demonstrating an immune quiescent state, the researchers said.  IANS

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