Natural Peptide Protects Against HIV

According to an article in the Science Daily website (, a study done by a team of researchers in Germany were able to discover a human blood component that effectively blocks the HIV-,1 which is the virus that is predominantly responsible for causing human AIDS, from trying to infect immune cells and stop them from multiplying.

The research team from the University of Ulm in Germany headed by Frank Kirchhoff have discovered that certain fragments of an abundant blood molecule which the team named Virus-Inhibitory Peptide or VIRIP acts as an effective inhibitor of HIV-1. It provided another promising way for researchers to combat the global epidemic known as AIDS by trying to stop the HIV virus from further damaging the human cells and stop its development. VIRIP and its derivatives were seen to have remained effective in blocking drug-resistant HIV strains, making it highly promising for further clinical development.

"The findings reveal a new target for inhibiting HIV that remains fully active against viral strains that are resistant to other drugs," said Frank Kirchhoff. The team of researchers also found some evidence that the HIV-1 virus does not easily develop resistance to VIRIP in cell cultures. In addition, partners in the said study which was led by Wolf-Georg Forssmann of IPF PharmaCeuticals GmbH and Hannover Medical School have found preliminary evidence that derivatives of the said peptide are highly stable in blood plasma and has not proven to be toxic even in very high concentrations.

Further study has also been done to reveal that VIRIP as the active ingredient in blocking HIV-1. A synthetic version of the said peptide was created and still maintained its anti-HIV properties, strongly concluding that there was no other factors were responsible to this new finding.

Currently, there are over 20 different HIV drugs being used which can fall to either one of the four categories, based on their modes of action in combating the said virus. An increasing number of HIV strains have become resistant to some of the drugs. It is seen that this resistance to a certain drug can eventually lead to resistance to other drugs that belong to the same category, thereby limiting the options in trying to combat the disease.

It is essential that additional drug classes be developed in order to continually fight off the dreaded disease as more and more drug-resistant HIV viruses are starting to show up more and more. The new findings may help in ushering in new ways to combat the virus that causes AIDS.

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