Sabato, 22 Settembre 2018

Italian researchers get new understanding of how HIV works


(ANSA) – Rome, November 14 – Italian researchers on
Wednesday announced they had found a key mechanism in the
functioning of the HIV virus, a turn which experts say could
lead to the development of an effective vaccine against the
The researchers, led by Barbara Ensoli of the Italian
National AIDS Center, found that a protein called Tat binds with
the HIV virus' Env protein, in a manner which renders
ineffective the host body’s antibodies.
The study shows how antibodies for the Tat and Env proteins
are necessary not only to block the virus’s entrance and spread
in the organism but also to contrast the effects of the
infection which persists during treatment with anti-retroviral
"This discovery offers an explanation for the disappointing
results obtained with preventive vaccines based only on Env and
tested in the past and suggests new possibilities for an
effective vaccination approach," said Enrico Garaci, president
of Italy’s national health institute, the Istituto Superiore di
To test the efficacy of such a vaccine-based approach, in
Italy a phase 1 trial is being carried out which combines Tat
and Env proteins.
Advanced, clinical phase 2 trials for therapeutic vaccines,
based only on the Tat protein, are being carried out in Italy
and South Africa.
Ensoli coordinated a team which included researchers from
the universities of Ferrara, Florence and Urbino.
The team published their findings in the journal PLoS ONE.

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