Professor David Harrich, from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, says they have discovered how to modify a protein in HIV so that, instead of replicating, it protects against the infection reports ABC News

“I consider that this is fighting fire with fire,” he said.

“What we’ve actually done is taken a normal virus protein that the virus needs to grow, and we’ve changed this protein, so that instead of assisting the virus, it actually impedes virus replication and does it quite strongly.”

While the modified protein cannot cure HIV, it has protected human cells from AIDS in the laboratory.

“This therapy is potentially a cure for AIDS,” he said.”So it’s not a cure for HIV infection, but it potentially could end the disease.So this protein present in immune cells would help to maintain a healthy immune system so patients can handle normal infections.”

If clinical trials are successful, one treatment could be effective enough to replace the multiple therapies those with HIV currently need.

“Drug therapy targets individual enzymes or proteins and they have one drug, one protein,” Harrich said. “They have to take two or three drugs, so this would be a single agent that essentially has the same effect. So in that respect, this is a world-first agent that’s able to stop HIV with a single agent at multiple steps of the virus lifecycle.”

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