Cloaking Ability of HIV Could Lead to New Treatment
Since the discovery of HIV, just how the virus managed to replicate undetected by the body was somewhat of a mystery—until now. Researchers have recently discovered a mechanism used to protect the whereabouts of the virus and which allows it to multiply undisturbed. How did this come about, and what does it mean for the future of HIV? Here is a brief look at what was uncovered.
A team of scientists has recently identified two molecules that aid HIV by allowing the virus to hide within the host cell. By isolating these molecules, researchers have learned that the virus remains hidden, as it were, from the immune system by using a cloaking ability. Under normal circumstances, when a virus invades a cell, the immune system is tripped and an anti-virus attack ensues. Until recently it was unknown exactly how HIV could sneak past this trigger. With the use of these molecules, HIV disguises itself within a healthy cell. While remaining undetected by the immune system, it begins to multiple and mutate. This has made it both difficult to target and treat. Now, researchers are hopeful that this new information can help bring about a new way to effectively treat and contain the infection.
There are many benefits to this new light. Allowing the body to identify and attack the HIV on its own could be groundbreaking. Also, current treatments can be made more effective. Mutations and resistance to drug therapies may also be reduced. Disabling the cloaking device may make it easier to target the infection before it spreads and could be useful in developing vaccines. Armed with this important information, scientists are now able to push ahead in a positive direction to reducing the devastating effects of HIV.