A new method that creates 'armour' in the body - a system that may help fight AIDS infection in its initial stages, has been developed by scientists.
A study by the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) and led by Mr Félix Goņi, director of the Biophysics Unit at the CSIC-University of the Basque Country Mixed Centre, has developed the method of attack against the AIDS virus.
When the membranes (cell coating) of the virus and the body cells come together, they fuse.
When both membranes come into contact, and due to the fact that the cell membrane is very "fragile", an orifice is created and fusion occurs - and a route opens for the AIDS virus to enter, connect to a specific "receptor" of the cell, and start its viral activity.
The 'armour' will serve to strengthen the membrane structure, making it more rigid, in order to avoid this fusion.
This could well give rise to a new pharmaceutical drug, which makes the membranes more rigid and impede the entrance of the AIDS virus.
"Instead of the membrane being flexible, a kind of armour is established which makes the cell impenetrable", explained Goņi.
"The idea of modifying the rigidity of the membranes is completely new and also demonstrating that, by equipping these membranes with greater rigidity, the AIDS virus cannot penetrate", he added.