- CNTV English - CCTV News

Australian scientists make breakthrough on HIV's infectious grip

09-21-2010 13:30 BJT

CANBERRA, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- Australian scientists on Tuesday revealed the most complete picture of the way Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) maintains its infectious grip on the body, pointing to new ways to combat it.

The Melbourne-based research has explained how the virus hides dormant versions of itself in a reservoir of cells out of the reach of conventional treatments but still able to "wake up" in the future, posing a major hurdle to any total cure for HIV.

"Once HIV gets into these cells, the virus can then go to sleep, " Co-Head of the Burnet Institute's Center for Virology and Director of The Alfred's Infectious Diseases Unit, Professor Sharon Lewin told Australian Associated Press (AAP) on Tuesday.

"These silently infected cells are not cleared by anti-HIV drugs or the immune system (meaning) once a patient stops the anti- HIV drugs, the virus can then wake up and gets going again.

"Understanding this mechanism will enable new treatment options to be developed which could block latent infection."

The research is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science this week.

Prof Lewin said it had remained a mystery as to how the virus gained access to the body's resting CD4-T cells and how it could then lie hidden for years despite prolonged treatment with anti- HIV drugs.

"Our team of researchers has now identified the path by which the virus can infect resting CD4-T cells and establish latency," Prof Lewin said.

"We have shown that a family of proteins, called chemokines, that guide resting cells through the blood and into lymph node tissue can 'unlock the door' and allow HIV to enter and set up a silent or 'latent' infection."

Prof Lewin said understanding how the virus achieved this should speed up the development of new and more potent treatments for HIV, that could possibly block the virus from establishing latency while also targeting its more active presence in the body.

Professor Brendan Crabb, Director of the Burnet Institute, said the breakthrough was a long time coming and heralded the beginning of a new chapter in the fight against HIV and Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

"We (the global scientific community) have been working on HIV for close to 30 years and it's really only now that we're beginning to see that a cure for HIV might be achievable and needs to be a major scientific priority," Professor Crabb told AAP.

The research was a collaborative effort involving scientists from the Burnet Institute, The Alfred, Monash University of Australia, University of Montreal, Canada and the Westmead Millennium Research Institute in Sydney.

Editor:Jin Lin |Source: Xinhua

Hot Videos view more

The celebrations are still continuing as the victorious coach, Joachim Loew, has been honored for his achievement in his hometown of Freiburg.
Germany coach Loew honored in hometown of Freiburg

Chinese men´s national team continued its preparations for next year´s Asian Cup, as they managed a one-all draw against visitors Jordan during a football friendly in Harbin, the capital city of Northeast China´s Heilongjiang Province.
China held to 1-1 draw by Jordan

The defending world champs came into the contest with a perfect 6-and-oh record, but they would be in for a tough first half before opening things up in the second.
USA beat Slovenia 119-76 in quarter-finals

Hot Stories more

UK authorities believe killer of James Foley is a British national

Across the UK the hunt is on for James Foley’s killer, who authorities believe is a British national. As Richard Bestic reports from London, Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his summer break to lead his government’s response.

Israeli war jets renews Gaza strike as truce talks stalled

Three Palestinians were killed and 40 others wounded in the intensive Israeli war jets´ airstrikes on the Gaza city on Tuesday night, shortly before an end of a 24-hour ceasefire in the Gaza Strip,

Missouri police arrest dozens after violent night

As the protests in the town of Ferguson, Missouri turned violent with police facing ´heavy gunfire´ from some ´criminal elements´, cops fired tear gas, stun grenades and arrested 31 demonstrators on Monday night.

Picture in news more

More Video News

Choose TV Program