A new study reveals the genetic identity of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the version responsible for sexual transmission, in unprecedented detail.
The finding provides important clues in the ongoing search for an effective HIV/AIDS vaccine, said researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). The UAB team found that among billions of HIV variants only a few lead to sexual transmission.
Earlier studies have shown that a ‘bottleneck’ effect occurs where few versions of the virus lead to infection while many variants are present in the blood. The UAB study is the first to use genetic analysis and mathematical modeling to identify precisely those viruses responsible for HIV transmission. … Continue Reading »
Researchers have developed what they believe is the first new mechanism in nearly 20 years for inhibiting a common target used to treat all HIV patients, which could eventually lead to a new class of AIDS drugs.
Researchers at the University of Michigan used computer models to develop the inhibiting compound, and then confirmed in the lab that the compound does indeed inhibit HIV protease, which is an established target for AIDS treatment. The protease is necessary to replicate the virus, says Heather Carlson, U-M professor of medicinal chemistry in the College of Pharmacy, and principal investigator of the study. … Continue Reading »
A research group supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has uncovered a new route for attacking the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that may offer a way to circumvent problems with drug resistance. In findings published today in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers report that they have blocked HIV infection in the test tube by inactivating a human protein expressed in key immune cells.
Most of the drugs now used to fight HIV, which is the retrovirus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), target the virus’s own proteins. However, because HIV has a high rate of genetic mutation, those viral targets change quickly and lead to the emergence of drug-resistant viral strains. Doctors have tried to outmaneuver the rapidly mutating virus by prescribing multi-drug regimens or switching drugs. But such strategies can increase the risk of toxic side effects, be difficult for patients to follow and are not always successful. Recently, interest has grown in attacking HIV on a new front by developing drugs that target proteins of human cells, which are far less prone to mutations than are viral proteins. … Continue Reading »
A phase 1 clinical trial to test a novel HIV/AIDS vaccine has begun at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). This new vaccine aims to overcome the problem of preexisting immunity to common vaccine vectors, which is thought to be a major problem in the developing world.
“This study will involve 48 healthy volunteers who will receive either two or three immunizations and who will be followed to assess the safety and immunogenicity of the vaccine,” explains Lindsey R. Baden, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine at BWH and Harvard Medical School and Protocol Chair for the study.
The vaccine consists of a replication-incompetent, recombinant adenovirus serotype 26 (rAd26) vector encoding an HIV-1 envelope gene. … Continue Reading »