Scientists at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have identified a protein that essentially blocks HIV replication, in monkey cells. Humans have a similar protein, although it is not as effective at stopping HIV, say the researchers whose work is published in this week's issue of Nature. The team, headed by Joseph Sodroski, is supported by the NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
"Identification of this HIV-blocking factor opens many new avenues for intervening in the early stage of HIV infection, before the virus can gain a sronghold," says NIAID director Anthony Fauci, "The discovery also gives us critical insights about viral uncoating, a little understood step in the viral lifecycle. Basic discoveries like this provide the scientific springboard to future improvements in therapies for HIV disease."