Scientists make Historic new Discovery that could lead to a cure for AIDS
Right this very moment, there are 36 million people suffering or living with HIV/Aids. 2 million among these are children. HIV has not been contained as you think it may have been. AIDS kills and since the disease reared its ugly head, it has taken millions of lives. In 2015 alone, 1.1 million people died of Aids. How much more will that figure be by the end of 2016?
However thanks to the progress of medical science in detecting life saving conditions, scientists have now discovered an antibody produced by none other than an HIV positive patient. The HIV antibody discovered possesses the ability to neutralize 98% of ALL tested HIV strains and that is something amazing.
1 A historic day in the battle for AIDS
In what could be termed as a historic day in the battle against AIDS, the new antibody couldn’t have come at a better time. The discovery comes during an ironic time when the world observes HIV today on 1st December 2016.While several people in western countries may feel that HIV isn’t the mammoth problem it once was, that’s not true. The majority of AIDS and HIV cases can be found in SUB Saharan Africa that has borne the brunt of the disease.
2 New antibody identified as N6
Scientists at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) have found an antibody within an AIDS Patient identified as N6. The antibody has the ability to recognize the HIV virus even as it broke away from it during morphing. The new antibody has the power to identify and block almost 98% of HIV strains and could now serve as the base for a range of effective vaccines against HIV. This is why the discovery is being hailed as a historic one because till now a vaccine for HIV has remained elusive. N6 is 10 times more powerful than VRCO1, another antibody in the class of N6.
VRCO1 has already progressed to human clinical trials after effectively protecting monkeys from HIV for 6 months.
3 What is an Antibody
An antibody is a protein that is produced by the body’s immune system as a response to pathogens like bacteria and viruses. Such Antibodies identify and destroy harmful pathogens by binding to them. They then neutralize the pathogen’s biological effects directly or with the help of white blood cells.
When N6 was exposed to 181 strains of HIV, it destroyed 98% of them including 16 of 20 strains that were resistant to the antibodies in the same class. The path breaking research was l led by Dr Mark Connors of the NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Scientists also claim that N6 can target a part of the HIV virus that doesn’t evolve which is the moan issue of Virus resistance to treatment. Said the research team “The rare occurrence of N6 resistance mutations suggests that such mutations come at a relatively high fitness cost, which might represent a partial barrier to the selection of resistant mutants,” the team working on N6 explained.
4 And now hopefully a cure in the very near future
Till now results have been found positive in the lab but researchers hope to find the same measure of success when human clinical trials are started. Scientists express a lot of hope that this will be a milestone in the combat against AIDS because only recently a trial of another treatment was observed to have eliminated HIV from a patient’s blood. Researchers were already in the process of pinpointing what prevented one in every 10 kids from catching the virus.
The battle may be far from won, but it will be so in the near future. Once clinical trials commence, humanity may soon hear another miraculous announcement concerning a cure for AIDS.