Potent new anti-HIV proteins found in Australian coral reefs
Researchers have found a new class of proteins capable of blocking the HIV virus from penetrating T-cells, which has raised hope that the proteins could be adapted for use in gels or sexual lubricants to provide a potent barrier against HIV infection.
Senior investigator Barry O'Keefe said that it's always thrilling when you find a brand-new protein that nobody else has ever seen before and the fact that this protein appears to block HIV infection makes it truly exciting.
The 'cnidarins' proteins were found in a feathery coral collected in waters off Australia's northern coast after screening thousands of natural product extracts in a biorepository maintained by the National Cancer Institute.
Koreen Ramessar, a member of the research team, said that cnidarins could be ideally suited for use in products designed for women to block HIV infection, without relying on a man's willingness to use a condom as the proteins block HIV transmission without encouraging the virus to become resistant to other HIV drugs.
(Posted on 30-04-2014)