HIV could now be prevented from becoming infectious –

HIV could now be prevented from becoming infectious


A new study found a way to prevent HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) from becoming an infectious agent. The virus, responsible for AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome), has killed more than 35 million people worldwide so far and continues to function to a large extent once it infects someone.

This new study brings hope that the scenario could end forever. It was led by researchers from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Delaware (UD). The findings appeared in Nature Communications on November 24. The interdisciplinary research team conducted seven years of detailed studies on the structure of HIV, both in the early and later stages of its life cycle before making progress.

"People used to be obsessed with the static structures of viruses, but they are not solid as a rock," said Tatyana Polenova, a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UD.

"Viruses like HIV and its constituent proteins and nucleic acid molecules are dynamic entities that expand and contract constantly, their movements are like breathing," he said.

Before looking at how the team broke the progress of the virus into an infectious agent, it would be useful to know a little about what happens as the HIV virus develops. When the virus develops, the building blocks of proteins in your body are cleaved from the master protein called Gag. But the final step in the evolution of the virus, from being non-infectious to infectious, had remained a mystery. In the present study, the team sought an answer to this.

With the help of cutting-edge technology, the team discovered that a major peptide called spacer peptide 1 (SP1) needed to be very mobile if the final step was to happen (the peptides are short chains of amino acid molecules). Otherwise, the enzyme that acts as a blade would not be effective.

Polenova mentioned this curious phenomenon when he said: "This peptide is always there in the last step of maturation, but we were surprised that it is so messy and dynamic."

Now that the researchers found that the SP1 peptide was Cutting was a key reason why the virus became infectious, his next quest was to prevent that from happening. After numerous experiments, they found that Bevirimat, an anti-HIV inhibitor, could interact with the SPI peptide and prevent the virus from becoming infectious. However, efforts to create a manageable drug to keep HIV from becoming infectious continue.

"We need to have an idea of ​​these fluctuations and molecular processes of short duration: protein division and generation of capsids, new generation of capsid inhibitors to prevent HIV, you must have very specific times and rates for these medicines work, "said Juan Perilla, badistant professor at UD.

Interestingly, this study also points to a new direction in which much scientific research seems to be progressing, from a lone scientist or scientists in the same discipline who work hard in the laboratory to a more interdisciplinary effort.

In addition to the aforementioned universities, teams from the University of Illinois, the National Cancer Institute and the Vanderbilt University Medical Center collaborated on the study.

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