A new HIV-blocking compound may be the answer to the now 30-year search for an AIDS vaccine.
Scientists, supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, say they have discovered a new compound that produces proteins within the cell that look like normal antibodies, but have Y-shaped heads that act as blockers to the virus that causes AIDS.
HIV is covered in spikes that try to attach to two receptors within the body of a cell. Antibodies can block one type of spike from HIV, but not the other. The new compound creates a protein known as eCD4-IG which blocks both binding spikes when the virus tries to attach itself to a cell within the body.
Historic methods of blocking the virus include myriad antibody cocktails that can block one or two strains of the virus. This approach has been shown to sometimes be ineffective.
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