We certainly hope so…
Researchers from Canada’s University of Alberta (UA) have found a gene that keeps the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) inside a cell and prevents it from infecting other cells.
In a cell culture experiment, the researchers led by Dr. Stephen Barr, a molecular virologist in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology of UA, found that when the gene TRIM22 is put in infected cells, HIV could not leave the cells to infect healthy cells thereby stopping the spread of the virus.
However, the gene does not work in people already infected with HIV; researchers are now working to determine why.
According to Canada.com, Barr said TRIM22 is a potential basis of future anti-HIV drugs and vaccines.
There had been discoveries of proteins that also block HIV in a newly-infected person but the virus mutates to overcome those proteins. HIV over the years has also become resistant to several drugs that try to suppresses it.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 33.2 million people around the world have HIV or AIDS in 2007, including 58,000 in Canada.