HIV is retrovirus which causes HIV infection and had become a major global health problem infecting almost 40 million people all over the world. People with this infection are treated with antiretroviral therapy but this option merely prevents the progression of the disease to AIDS – it doesn’t cure patients of HIV.
This new research reveals that HIV virus inhibits the pathway which involves the number of biological molecules. These biological molecules are the main element in blocking the viral activity of virus and clearing infection. This new finding leads the researchers to a new era of HIV research more focused to cure the people infected with HIV virus.
Whenever viral infection strikes our body, our immune system produces a powerful molecule which prevents the virus from causing infection. This molecule is called interferon which induces the interferon signaling pathway which in turn activates assembly line of molecules in our cells. These molecules show their antiviral activity and clear the infection.
Scientists observed that when antiretroviral therapy is given to patients, the immune system does not clear HIV completely. Therefore, they thought there might be some mechanism by which HIV was inhibiting the interferon signaling pathway and escaping the immune response whose aim is to cure the viral infection. To confirm their hypothesis about interferon blocking, scientists from Trinity College Dublin examined their assumption and confirmed it.
Assistant Professor of Immunology at Trinity, Nigel Stevenson, led the work. He said: “We discovered that HIV promotes the destruction of the anti-viral Interferon signaling pathway. Essentially, HIV uses the machinery in our own cells to do this, and the virus is thus able to reduce the production of many important anti-viral molecules. Without these anti-viral molecules, our immune system can’t clear viral infections.”
“Our new revelation sheds new light on how HIV avoids elimination, which, in turn, may explain why HIV is still not a curable disease. We feel this discovery could mark a paradigm shift in our understanding of how this virus evades our immune response. It should open the door to a new era of HIV research aiming to cure and eradicate this deadly virus.”