Medical researchers have found a chink in the constantly shape-shifting armour of the HIV virus. The discovery could be a significant step forward in the ongoing quest for a vaccine.
The AIDS virus evades the immune system because most of the proteins that cover the surface of the virus constantly change their structure. But researchers have now identified a site that doesn't change, and shown how an antibody can bind to it. If the body could be stimulated to produce its own copies of this antibody before infection, then in theory, it would allow it to attack the otherwise elusive virus and prevent infection.
"For a long time people have been asking whether an HIV vaccine is even possible," says Peter Kwong of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland, who led the research. "What this finding says is that it's not just a dream — there is this site of vulnerability."
It may look like something that kids would scribble on a piece of paper with their crayons but it really may be another clue in finding a cure to HIV:
bound to an HIV protein,
giving hope for a vaccine.
For those of you that are more scientifically inclined, they go into more depth on this and other possible steps towards finding a cure for HIV that have resulted because of the original X-Ray image scientists captured, and that the scribble above is based on:
As a HUGE side note:
Take a look at the search results on the word "WIKI" on a search of Nature's site. (Most of them are "premium articles" for subscribers) Everything science appears to be going Wiki for conveniences' sake, showing that DemFromCT's "Flu Wiki" may really have been a pioneering standard for modern science.
AND NO! I don't mean the Flu Wiki was meant for scientific research, but it does allow for the sharing of ways to deal with an influenza pandemic:
Just a Bump in the Beltway, The Next Hurrah and Effect Measure blogs announce the launch of a new experiment in collaborative problem solving in public health, The Flu Wiki.
The purpose of the Flu Wiki is to help local communities prepare for and perhaps cope with a possible influenza pandemic. This is a task previously ceded to local, state and national governmental public health agencies. Our goal is to be:
- a reliable source of information, as neutral as possible, about important facts useful for a public health approach to pandemic influenza
- a venue for anticipating the vast range of problems that may arise if a pandemic does occur
- a venue for thinking about implementable solutions to foreseeable problems
No one, in any health department or government agency, knows all the things needed to cope with an influenza pandemic. But it is likely someone knows something about some aspect of each of them and if we can pool and share our knowledge we can advance preparation for and the ability to cope with events. This is not meant to be a substitute for planning, preparation and implementation by civil authorities, but a parallel effort that complements, supports and extends those efforts.
While we will continue to administer and maintain the Wiki, we are turning the wheel over to the community, to take it where the road leads us. There is a bit of a learning curve to driving this rig. We hope you will find the instructions sufficient to get started. You’ll soon be learning on your own.
This was a novel approach to sharing information on how to deal with this issue at the time. An idea that could, and should, be replicated with shared input from scientists, doctors, and emrgency services providers for many different and varied emergencies that require coordiantion and input from "everywhere."