Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Gene discovery could lead to new types of HIV treatments

19 September 2013, 16:01

Scientists have identified a gene which they say may have the ability to prevent HIV, the virus that causes Aids, from spreading after it enters the body.

In an early-stage study in the journal Nature, researchers said the gene, called MX2, appears to play a key role in how HIV is controlled in human cells, so using it could lead to the development of new, less toxic treatments that harness the body's natural defences and mobilise them against the virus.

Although there are many more years of research ahead, Mike Malim, who co-led the research at King's College London, described the finding as "extremely exciting" and said it advanced scientists' understanding of how the HIV virus interacts with the immune system.

"Until now we knew very little about the MX2 gene, but now we recognise both its potent anti-viral function and a key point of vulnerability in the life cycle of HIV," he said in a statement about the study.

About 34 million people worldwide are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes Aids -  the vast majority of them in poor and developing countries.

But while, particularly in wealthy nations, there are many effective drugs available that allow HIV patients to live long, healthy lives, they often have side-effects and drug resistance can become a problem with long-term use.

In this study, Malim and a team of researchers conducted experiments on human cells in the laboratory, introducing the HIV virus to two different cell lines - one in which the MX2 gene was "switched on" and in the other it was "silenced" - and then observing the effects.

Results of the study

They found that in the cells where MX2 was silenced, the Aids virus replicated and spread, while in the cells where it was switched on, the HIV was unable to replicate and produce new viruses to spread.

Malim said the findings suggest MX2 was a key player in establishing viral control in people with HIV, and that armed with this new knowledge, there were two possible routes for potential drug development using the gene.

"It may be possible to develop either a molecule that mimics the role of MX2 or a drug which activates the gene's natural capabilities," he said.


- Reuters


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...