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Synthetic
compound may block HIV infection

Synthetic
compound may block HIV infection

Compound is electrically drawn to HIV and interferes with its outer membrane.

Researchers at Vanderbilt University have discovered a synthetic compound that may interfere with HIV's outer membrane and prevent infection with the virus, BBC News reports. Lab tests show the compound, called CSA-54 and culled from a family of synthetic compounds called ceragenins, is electrostatically drawn to some viruses, fungi, and bacteria. Because HIV's outer membrane is negatively charged, it draws CSA-54 to it, at which point the compound binds to the virus and prevents it from being able to latch onto and infect immune system cells.

"This is particularly important, as a compound that targets the viral membrane is likely to be effective against all strains of the virus regardless of mutations, as the viral membrane remains unchanged," lead researcher Derya Unutmaz told BBC News.

The researchers are planning a second round of tests, with the goal of eventually moving the compound into animal and human studies. (Advocate.com)

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