Scientists evolve new strategy against HIV

Scientists have successfully evolved a new strategy for starving the HIV to death by blocking its nutrient and sugar pipeline. As per the research scientists from the Northwestern Medicine and Vanderbilt University, HIV has a voracious sweet tooth, which has turned out to be its Achilles' heel.

When the virus attacks an activated immune cell, it has a strong craving for nutrients and sugar from the cell. The virus needs them to replicate and fuel its growth across the human body.

Now, the scientists have found the switch that turns on the abundant nutrient and sugar pipeline in the cell. As a result of this the switch was blocked using an experimental compound. This closed down the pipeline, thus starving HIV to death. This would result into a situation where in the virus could not replicate in human cells in vitro.

This latest discovery is likely to find application in the treatment of cancer as in cancer also there is an intense appetite for nutrients and sugar in the cell for the growth and spreading.

Harry Taylor, assistant professor in Medicine-Infectious Diseases, said this compound can be an ancestor for something that could be used in the future as a cocktail component to treat HIV for improving the effectiveness of medicines available now.

HIV needs a CD4+ T cell to grow and such kind of immune cell must be active, meaning that it is already responding to pathogens in the blood. Activation is required to enhance the supply of critical nutrients and sugar essential for the growth of both the cell as well as the virus.