January 16, 2013
David Harrich, a researcher at Australia's Queensland Institute of Medical Research, reported that he has modified an HIV protein to interrupt the replication of the virus and prevent HIV from developing into AIDS. According to his research, the modified protein -- named Nullbasic by Harrich -- has been successful in laboratory tests.
The modified protein would not be a cure for HIV. In contrast with HIV treatments that aim to eliminate the virus, Nullbasic would interrupt the disease process and prevent HIV-infected people from developing AIDS. The laboratory will begin testing the modified HIV protein in animals this year. Even if animal testing is successful, Harrich estimated treatment for HIV-infected people is still some years away. However, he stated the treatment could eliminate costly multi-drug treatments, save money for governments, and improve quality of life for HIV-infected people.
The United Nations estimates there were 34 million HIV-infected people in the world in 2011. Most of these -- 23.5 million -- live in sub-Saharan Africa. Another 4.2 million HIV-infected people live in southern Asia or Southeast Asia.
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