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Australian scientists stumble across potential HIV treatment

Australian scientists stumble across potential HIV treatment

Australian scientists who were working to develop a test to gauge how well animals' immune systems respond to diseases might have instead stumbled across a new way to combat HIV in the body, the Australian Associated Press reports. Researchers at the University of Melbourne and Australian National University had coated blood cells from laboratory animals with HIV peptide markers so that they could more easily monitor the cells' interaction with the virus, but they found that the peptide-coated cells triggered a strong immune response to HIV. Further tests on mice and monkeys showed that immune system activity is heightened for several weeks after the peptide-coated cells are injected into the animals, including activity against virus resistant to existing anti-HIV medications. The researchers hope to begin human tests in Sydney and Melbourne within two years. They say it may be possible to devise a system through which an HIV-positive person's blood cells are coated with HIV peptides and injected back into the body several times a year to keep the immune system primed to fight the virus. The full study appears in the Journal of Virology.

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