Blocking 'Type-I interferon' protein may help combat HIV

A new study has found that blocking a protein may help combat HIV.

By Zee Media Bureau | Updated: Dec 24, 2016, 18:29 PM IST
Blocking 'Type-I interferon' protein may help combat HIV

New York: A new study has found that blocking a protein may help combat HIV.

Researchers have discovered that protiens is crucial to initiating the immune response against viral infections may actually help combat HIV.

The study was conducted in animals which found that temporarily blocking a type of protein, called Type-I interferon, can restore immune function and speed up viral suppression during treatment with anti-viral drugs for people with chronic infection of the virus that causes AIDS.

Scott Kitchen, Associate Professor at David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, said ''This is the first study to show the role that type I interferon plays in driving the body's immune destruction during HIV infection''.

"This finding is completely counterintuitive, because many believe that the more interferon at work, the better," Kitchen added.

"We show that the type of interferon being produced during chronic stages of HIV infection has detrimental effects on the body's ability to fight off HIV and other types of infection or cancer and could actually be contributing to accelerated HIV disease," Kitchen said.

Researchers have used "humanised mice" for the study which have had their immune systems replaced with human immune system cells, thymus tissue and bone marrow.

They treated HIV-infected mice with antibodies that blocked Type-I interferons, which allowed the mice's immune systems to revert from the state of exhaustion.

This made it possible for their immune systems to produce sufficient amounts of CD8 T cells that were primed to attack and kill HIV-infected cells.

When combined with antiretroviral therapy, the treatment accelerated the effect of antiretroviral therapy in suppressing HIV, according to the study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

"We found -- counterintuitively -- that blocking this immune response against the virus had beneficial effects in lowering the amounts of virus and increasing the ability of the immune response to clear out the virus," Kitchen said.

(With IANS inputs)