Research Finds Over 200 Human Proteins that Play a Role in HIV Transmission

Researchers at Harvard Medical School have found and identified 273 human proteins that Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) uses to infect cells and reproduce, which could lead to the development of new HIV/ AIDS therapies. This report was released in January 10, 2008 issue of Science magazine.

A relatively-new technique called a "genome-wide scan" was used in this study, where over 21,000 protein-encoding human genes were scanned and then blocked each one individually to see whether the blocked protein affected the virus’ ability to infect a cell.

Of the 273 proteins identified, 36 (including the CD+4 T cell and CCR5 receptors that HIV uses to attach to a cell’s surface) had been identified and appeared to be linked to HIV

According to California Institute of Technology’s HIV researcher David Baltimore, the study "provides a very important class of leads for the synthesis" of new drugs to treat HIV and AIDS. Meanwhile, some scientists are concerned that blocking certain proteins in a patient, although HIV will not likely to mutate in a host, could cause more health risks.

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