Five New Ingredients for an HIV Cure?

Researchers have investigated house cats, Russian mushrooms, a nail fungus remedy, and more in their constant study of what kills HIV.

BY Editors

January 01 2014 5:00 AM ET

What Your Cat Knows About HIV

Humans might have something to learn from their feline friends when it comes to fighting HIV.
When scientists added a protein from the cat AIDS virus to blood from HIV-infected humans, the human blood showed an immune response that could become the basis for developing a vaccine.
The feline immunodeficiency virus triggers anti-HIV T-cell activity in humans, said University of Florida researcher Janet Yamamoto.
“In humans, some peptides stimulate immune responses, which either enhance HIV infection or have no effect at all, while others may have anti-HIV activities that are lost when the virus changes or mutates to avoid such immunity,” she said. Although previous studies combined HIV proteins as vaccine components, none worked well enough, Yamamoto said.
“Surprisingly,” she said, “we have found that certain peptides of the feline AIDS virus can work exceptionally well.”
Findings from the study, a joint project of the University of Florida and the University of California, San Francisco, were published in the October issue of the Journal of Virology.