Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison "report they were able to block HIV infections in the lab with synthetic proteins that prevented the virus from entering healthy cells," according to a study published in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, HealthDay/U.S. News & World Report reports. In the NIH-funded study, "researchers developed synthetic molecules that interfered with the ability of a key HIV protein called gp41 to interact with proteins in host cells" in the lab, according to the article (8/17). "By interacting with a piece of a crucial HIV protein, the synthetic molecules physically prevent the virus from infecting host cells," WKOWTV.com reports (8/17). "Although it is not clear that the [synthetic proteins] themselves could ever be used as anti-HIV drugs, [lead author Samuel] Gellman emphasizes, the results show that this type of approach has great potential to lead to new ways to think about designing molecules for antiviral therapies and other biomedical applications," according to a University of Wisconsin-Madison/EurekAlert! press release (8/17).
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