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Biotech Science

Human Blood May Contain A Cure For AIDS 309

Lisandro writes "German scientists at the University of Ulm have identified a natural ingredient of human blood that prevents the HIV-1 virus from from infecting immune cells and multiplying. The molecule, which they call virus-inhibitory peptide (VIRIP), promises new types of effective treatment for HIV in the future. 'Tweaks to its amino acid components boosted its anti-HIV potency by two orders of magnitude. Tests also showed that some derivatives of the molecule are highly stable in human blood plasma, and non-toxic even at very high concentrations. A synthetic version of VIRIP also proved effective at blocking HIV, excluding the possibility that some other factor was responsible. VIRIP targets a sugar molecule which HIV uses to infect a host cell. '"
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Human Blood May Contain A Cure For AIDS

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  • well... (Score:5, Informative)

    by mapkinase ( 958129 ) on Friday April 20, 2007 @01:26PM (#18813783) Homepage Journal
    Abstract of original article in Cell [].

    A variety of molecules in human blood have been implicated in the inhibition of HIV-1. However, it remained elusive which circulating natural compounds are most effective in controlling viral replication in vivo. To identify natural HIV-1 inhibitors we screened a comprehensive peptide library generated from human hemofiltrate. The most potent fraction contained a 20-residue peptide, designated VIRUS-INHIBITORY PEPTIDE (VIRIP), corresponding to the C-proximal region of 1-antitrypsin, the most abundant circulating serine protease inhibitor. We found that VIRIP inhibits a wide variety of HIV-1 strains including those resistant to current antiretroviral drugs. Further analysis demonstrated that VIRIP blocks HIV-1 entry by interacting with the gp41 fusion peptide and showed that a few amino acid changes increase its antiretroviral potency by two orders of magnitude. Thus, as a highly specific natural inhibitor of the HIV-1 gp41 fusion peptide, VIRIP may lead to the development of another class of antiretroviral drugs.
  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Friday April 20, 2007 @01:34PM (#18813901) Homepage
    A huge number of viruses target sugars. It is a common material in the human body.

    No, that is not a sad comment on the human diet, it is instead an explanation for why we like sugar so much, it is so usefull and neccessary.

  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Friday April 20, 2007 @02:02PM (#18814327) Homepage Journal

    instead an explanation for why we like sugar so much, it is so usefull and neccessary.

    It's useful, but not necessary. The body can run on ketones.

  • by slusich ( 684826 ) * <slusich AT gmail DOT com> on Friday April 20, 2007 @02:06PM (#18814405)
    In the last 10 years I've lost 4 friends to AIDS. Two were gay. One had an unhealthy relationship with IV drugs. We still don't know how the last one contracted it.

    Two close relatives have died, and one more is currently living with being HIV+.

    I'm sorry if you don't believe me. Doesn't matter if you do or don't. Was just putting in my two cents.
  • by RSKennan ( 835119 ) on Friday April 20, 2007 @02:12PM (#18814501)
    It's sweet and delicious because we need it.
  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Friday April 20, 2007 @02:27PM (#18814727) Homepage Journal
    I consumed very little carbohydrates (very hard to eat NONE) for over a year - in most cases less than 10g/day, and I was in the best health in which I had ever been. I lost weight, I put on muscle, my cholesterol was lower than it had been when I was eating carbs. Your mileage may vary, but your FUD is pathetic. You're either misled and spreading someone else's FUD, or you're making the usual idiot mistake of confusing ketosis with ketoacidosis, which are not remotely the same thing.
  • Re:It's HIV not AIDS (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 20, 2007 @02:55PM (#18815151)
    The poster before you is right. And you were right, too, in a way. AIDS is the full-blown result of a severe HIV infection, where any random virus that heads your way can potentially kill you. That said, if you cure the underlying reason the immune system is compromised (HIV), and are on medications that combat the opportunistic infections (AIDS), you should be able to rebound from the AIDS as well as the HIV. If you're too far gone when the cure is developed, you might not be able to be helped, but I think most people would be able to recover from AIDS.

    Think about it. You have a severe case of the common cold as a result of HIV suppressing your immune system. If you get rid of the HIV, your immune system is no longer being suppressed. Now that that's the case, your body is only fighting on one front instead of two, which gives you a chance to fight off the cold. You may need drugs and treatment to aid your body still, but you've got a fighting chance.

    This is all just my opinion, based on my understanding of things, of course. I'm not a doctor or medical professional.
  • by sydney094 ( 153190 ) on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:01PM (#18815251)
    No, it won't. Each virus has a very specific target that it uses to inject itself into it's host cells, so this will really only benefit HIV or other viruses that have the same attack vector.

    Imagine a wall with hundreds of doors on it, each with a different type of lock. Viruses are like burglars trying to break in, but they each only know how to pick one kind of lock. This type of treatment will result in blocking only the doors that have the same type of lock that HIV uses. Hepatitis, for example, would use a very different lock (different wall actually).

    Or, since this is slashdot, you could also look at it as a host's firewall. HIV may attack a specific port, and this treatment may block only that port.

    This is a very simplistic way of explaining it, but for the most part, this type of treatment only has an effect on HIV's specific attack characteristics. Viruses are usually very particular about what types of cells they attack, and then it can get even more specific. I'd view this as a specific fix.

    Now, where things can start to get interesting is if they can manage to generalize this approach to find the appropriate blocking peptides for other types of viruses. If the approach can be generalized, then you might be able to find treatments for other viruses, but the hope for a universal cure for viruses isn't very feasible.

    Viruses hijack our own internal machinery to reproduce themselves, so you can't exactly target them the same way that you can bacteria. (There are some common points that are being used to target specific classes of viruses, but I'm not aware of any universal point of attack). You can pretty much target viruses are three points: 1) at the point of infection into the host cell, 2) replication of the virus, 3) at the point where the daughter viruses leave the host cell. The approach mentioned in the article is of type 1.
  • by cdrguru ( 88047 ) on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:11PM (#18815391) Homepage
    Africa has national leaders that say there is no link between HIV and AIDS.

    In Africa it is a common belief that using a condom is "unmanly" and a woman, even a prostitute, that requests it is likely to get a beating. Condom use is a joke in Africa - it isn't going to happen.

    What this means is you have infected people running around loose infecting more people constantly. Sure, there are millions of infected people. People that don't understand how the disease is transmitted and are constantly lied to about it. And people that are so completely caught up in the cultural prohibitions about things like condoms and birth control that it will never stop.

    Spending money in Africa to control AIDS is like sending food aid to the warlords in Somalia.
  • by Shifty Jim ( 862102 ) on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:20PM (#18815479) Homepage
    Cells of the IMMUNE system, as HIV and AIDS are diseases that attack and destroy the human immune system.

    Human Immunodeficiency Virus
    Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:24PM (#18815523) Homepage Journal

    Were you on a specific diet? What foods did you a) eat and b) not eat. Just a health-aware geek trying to get in shape.

    I was on something like the Atkins diet, but I didn't buy a book or anything. I just kept my carb intake below 50g/day religiously - NO CHEATING - and the weight dropped off. For the first nine months I was pretty much sitting on my ass and consistently lost ten pounds a month.

    I wrote the following two articles about the atkins diet and the food pyramid [] and what to eat on the atkins diet [] for Everything2 [].

  • by morcego ( 260031 ) on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:51PM (#18815951)
    Actually (even tho I sense you were aiming for Funny), this is an evolutionary imperative (or something like that).
    Our primitive ancestors who enjoyed (and could metabolize) sugar (and fat) were able to get much more energy into their bodies. They were better adapter to an environment where finding food/energy was difficult.
    So yes, you ARE genetically predisposed to like sugars (and fat foods).
  • by boriquajake ( 966415 ) on Friday April 20, 2007 @04:01PM (#18816117)
    Actually not all carnivores have lost the ability to sense carbohydrates. Dogs do have the ability to sense sweetness though at a reduced level compared to us and bears.
  • by compro01 ( 777531 ) on Friday April 20, 2007 @04:07PM (#18816209)
    You aren't born with AIDS

    yes, you can be. if your mother had it, odds are damn good you will.
  • by joshv ( 13017 ) on Friday April 20, 2007 @04:54PM (#18817009)
    Actually, the brain needs about 100g of glucose a day to function properly. The body however, is perfectly capable of synthesizing this amount of glucose from protein intake via a process call "gluconeogenesis". Thus your brain can function quite well with zero carb intake.
  • Re:Predators? (Score:3, Informative)

    by pushing-robot ( 1037830 ) on Friday April 20, 2007 @05:44PM (#18817719)
    "Omnivore" and "predator" aren't mutually exclusive. Dogs have always been omnivores. Some wolves are omnivores. Coyotes are omnivores. Foxes are omnivores. They're all predators, and they like sweet foods. Bears are omnivores and predators. And they like sweet foods. Ferrets, on the other hand, are obligate carnivores and predators. And they like sweet foods too. Most cats don't taste sugar. But cats have a rather unique metabolism. Claiming "predators don't taste sugar" is a ridiculous and easily disproven generalization.
  • by nospam007 ( 722110 ) on Friday April 20, 2007 @06:11PM (#18818031)
    Predators, like cats, cannot taste sweet because their body receives enough sugars from their food sources that they don't require the need to seek more out.
    This has nothing to do with predator status, it's only cats, not the rest of them.
    Cats both large and small harbor a genetic mutation that renders the sugar detectors on their taste buds inoperative. le/2005/07/24/AR2005072401107.html []
  • by evultrole ( 829158 ) on Friday April 20, 2007 @11:38PM (#18820809)
    No offense obviously, but the brain in particular runs more efficiently on ketones than it does on glucose.

    Why are you stupid?

    No, really, why are you a stupid, biologically illiterate oaf?

    "Ketone bodies, from the breakdown of fatty acids to acetyl groups, are also produced during this state, and are burned throughout the body. Excess ketone bodies are excreted in the breath and urine. The brain has a residual need for glucose because ketones can only provide energy when used during aerobic respiration in mitochondria. In the long thin neurons, much of the metabolically active cellular membrane must derive its energy from glucose via anaerobic respiration without the assistance of mitochondria."

    Yes, that's right, parts of the brain are incapable of making use of ketones for energy (but who needs cellular membranes, right?).

    Ever hear of ketosis? No, I don't mean the bull-shit "ketosis" that retards trying to push low-carb diets talk about, I'm talking about real ketosis, the time when your body ends up with a large overabundance of ketones and you end up "drunk" all day long. Then, after that, you end up in a ketone induced coma. Then you die.

    The atkins diet has been changed three or four times because the original "Atkins" crap was pretty much globally recognized as being dangerous.

    Yes, there are a lot of retards who say things like "A lot of people mistakenly think Ketoacidosis when they hear ketosis, but it's a completely different thing."

    No it isn't you jerks, Ketoacidosis is just another name for Ketosis (interestingly ketosis was referred to as the danger condition by medical professionals 20-40 years ago, it changed to "a natural body process" with a different name for the condition around the time of these low-card diets).

    "Ketosis occurs when there is not enough insulin in the body to metabolize glucose and provide energy to the cells of the body. The blood fluids become increasingly acidic until the starving body cells malfunction, causing staggering, slurred speech, disorientation and poor judgement. Eventually, the victim of ketosis may have seizures, go into a deep coma and die if untreated." s83099.asp [] []

    See, here's the way it works. Ketones are emergency power for some cells in your body, i.e. if you are starving you'll have enough energy to go kill something, but that's about it.

    Outside of that single use, ketones are a giant danger to your nervous system. If you don't drink large amounts of water to wash them out of your system you end up staggering around like a drunken hobo. Atkins guy, try laying off the water intake for a couple days then see how you feel. At that point, come back and tell us how well the brain runs on ketones.

    The fact that you can function at all is due to the fact that you keep washing the toxin out of your body in your urine, if you didn't your blood would end up too acidic for you to live... and, well, you wouldn't any longer.

    Ketones are better than glucose my ass...

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