HIV Slows When Deprived of Sugar & Nutrients

HIV Slows When Deprived of Sugar & NutrientsHIV Slows When Deprived of Sugar & Nutrients

A new research has developed a new method that prevents the HIV virus from reproducing in the body.

Scientists from Vanderbilt University and Northwestern Medicine’s HIV Translational Research center have discovered how to control the HIV virus’ sugar and nutrient supply, according to Medical Daily.

When the virus infects the immune system, it uses its cells to look for sugar and nutrients to develop and grow. For the experiment, the pathway to the virus’ “pantry” was blocked using an experimental compound, leaving the virus to starve to death and unable to reproduce.

The study, which was published in the journal PLOS Pathogens, showed that the compound could also slow down the growth of “abnormally activated immune cells,” which scientists perceive as the reason why HIV can cause life-long complications such as premature organ damage and excess inflammation.

“This compound can be the precursor for something that can be used in the future as part of a cocktail to treat HIV that improves on the effective medicines we have today,”  said study author Harry Taylor, of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, according to Eureka Alert.

“It’s essential to find new ways to block HIV growth, because the virus is constantly mutating,” Taylor added. “A drug targeting HIV that works today may be less effective a few years down the road, because HIV can mutate itself to evade the drug.”

Scientists believe that the new approach in preventing and stopping HIV is gentler. Taylor even noted, “This new approach, which slows the growth of the immune cells, could reduce the dangerous inflammation and thwart the life-long persistence of HIV.”

According to a press release by Northwestern University, the idea for the approach came from Taylor’s experience while working with colleagues at Vanderbilt University.

There, his colleagues identified a compound that blocks breast cancer cell growth. They then used the compound in an attempt to cut off HIV’s ability to use its host cell’s nutrient supply.

They found the method to be successful since the compound blocked off glucose and other nutrients the HIV virus needs to replicate without harming other cells.