Have Houston Doctors Cracked the AIDS Virus?
, word is filtering out of the scientific press that a trio of pathologists led by Dr. Sudhir Paul at the University of Texas Medical School here in Houston has pinpointed the Achilles Heel of the virus that causes AIDS.
The vulnerable spot is hidden in a protein essential for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, the virus that causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, to attach to host cells, the university said in a release.
An HIV vaccine doesn't exist because HIV is a mutating virus.
Battle of the Piney Woods: SFA vs. SHSU
TicketsSat., Oct. 1, 3:00pm
University of Houston Cougars Football vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane Football
TicketsSat., Oct. 15, 11:00am
Rice University Owls Football vs. UTSA Roadrunners Football
TicketsSat., Oct. 15, 6:00pm
Rice University Owls Football vs. Prairie View A&M University Football
TicketsSat., Oct. 22, 2:30pm
The scientists said they are focusing on a stretch of amino acids on HIV's envelope protein gp120.
"Unlike the changeable regions of its envelope, HIV needs at least one region that must remain constant to attach to cells. If this region changes, HIV cannot infect cells," said Paul, a pathology professor at the UT Medical School.
Paul's group engineered antibodies with enzymatic activity, called abzymes, that can attack the virus's weakness.
"The abzymes recognize essentially all of the diverse HIV forms found across the world. This solves the problem of HIV changeability," Paul said. "The next step is to confirm our theory in human clinical trials."
Science Daily kicks some deep, um, science about the breakthrough here. The UPI is also reporting that Dr. Paul’s theory will be presented at the International AIDS Conference in Mexico City next month.
-- John Nova Lomax
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.