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A new way to combat HIV/AIDS

11-30-2010 13:55 BJT Special Report:World AIDS Day |

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For almost three decades, science and medical researchers have struggled to find a vaccine or cure for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. However, a researcher in Beijing hopes to use an unconventional approach which may snuff out the infection before it breaks through the body's defenses. Shen Le has that story.

Professor Xu Yuanyong is one of the few pioneers in complementology. His research focuses on manipulating the body's own immune system to kill the virus.

Professor Xu said, "Traditional means of killing the virus becomes ineffective due to the virus' rapid mutation. Also, anti-retroviral drugs have a lot of side effects."

HIV infects vital cells in the human immune system like this cultured lymphocyte. This process gradually weakens immunity and eventually leads to its failure. As a result, the body becomes more and more susceptible to opportunistic infections.

However, Professor Xu believes the complement system, also the body's first line of defense, can be modified to kill the HIV.

He said, "My research has synthesized a special complement with a fragment of an anti-body designed to kill the virus. This way the complements will target the virus while sparing other health cells. "

The National Natural Science Foundation approved Xu's project and provides funding his research. Many overseas scientists have been in contact to share data and research results.

However, the professor says the real challenge is learning how to stimulate enough complements while maintaining their stability. In addition, more tests on animals are needed to prove the feasibility of this method. If everything goes well, the research may produce a way to prevent HIV infection when the virus enters the body.

CCTV reporter Shen Le said, "Although in its early phase and much more work is still needed, manipulating the complement system to help fight HIV/AIDS may provide a viable solution in the future. Shen Le, CCTV, Beijing."

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Editor:Zhang Jingya |Source: CNTV.CN

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