Scientists may be one step closer to developing a cure for HIV, new research suggests.
An injection may soon be available that prevents the virus spreading and could rid sufferers of the infection, a study implies.
Researchers injected cows with HIV, all of which developed an immune response within as little as 35 days, a study found.
When the immune cells of the cows were analyzed, one, in particular, was found to bind to a key site on HIV that the virus uses to spread infection, the research adds.
The researchers believe such immune cells could be incorporated into an injection to neutralize HIV in infected humans.
Currently, there is no cure for HIV, with patients usually being required to take lifelong medication that causes nausea, diarrhea and insomnia.
Researchers from multiple institutions, including Texas A&M University, injected HIV into the side of four calves.
Cows are not normally at risk of HIV, however, the researchers believe the animal’s immune system has specific features that allows it to produce antibodies when exposed to the virus.
Lead author Devin Sok from the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, said: ‘HIV is a human virus but researchers can certainly learn from immune responses across the animal kingdom.’
Results revealed that all of the calves developed immune cells, known as antibodies, to HIV 35-to-50 days after receiving two injections.
The researchers analyzed the antibodies and found that one in particular binds to a key site on HIV that the virus uses to infect cells.
Such antibodies could be incorporated into a vaccine to neutralize HIV in humans, according to the researchers.
It is unclear when such a vaccine could be available.