January/February #193 : Prevention: Possible Microbicide Tricks HIV - by Benjamin Ryan

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January / February 2014

Prevention: Possible Microbicide Tricks HIV

by Benjamin Ryan

A new potential microbicide element is quite the sneaky little arsenal. Researchers have theorized that it may fool HIV into thinking it’s latching onto a human immune cell, prompting the virus to eject its DNA and then die. Called a dual action virolytic entry inhibitor, or DAVEI, this molecule is engineered from parts of other molecules that, when put together, recreates the environment that HIV experiences right before it infects a cell. One segment of the DAVEI is a fusion mechanism that interacts with the viral membrane. A second segment connects to the sugar coating over the spikes on HIV’s surface that attach to human cells. Consequently, the virus, which ordinarily would first fuse with a human cell before infecting it, thinks it is about to infect a healthy cell, although there is nothing there to infect. So it releases its DNA harmlessly and meets its demise.

Search: microbicide, DNA, research

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