A team lead by Dr. Philip R. Johnson of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and his colleagues published results on a new method to fight the AIDS virus in the journal Nature Medicine. The research was supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Dieseases.
This new method involves a series of steps to produce a protective protein. The method was tested on a group of monkeys as wells as mice. Monkeys carry the SIV virus, which is closely related to the HIV virus. Dr. Johnson, Dr K. Reed Clark and their team developed immunoadhesins, which are antibody-like proteins, designed to attach to the SIV virus and stop its ability to infect cells. Then, they used an adeno-associate virus (AAV) as a carrier. The AAV virus is an effective way to carry DNA into cells of monkeys and humans. Injecting this AAV Virus with the immunoadhesins into the muscles of the monkeys successfully produced protective proteins.
After a month, nine of the monkeys with the protective proteins were injected with the SIV virus. Six monkeys, without the protective protein, also were infected as a comparison. All nine of the protected monkeys survived and six had no signs of the virus. All six of the other monkeys were infected and four of them died in the same time period.