Friday, October 15, 2004

Scientists make HIV transfer breakthrough

An international team of scientists believe they have worked out the main way the AIDS virus is passed from men to women during sex.

The scientists, led by Professor Robin Offord from the University of Geneva, hope to use the research to develop a treatment to combat the virus.

Around the world, heterosexual sex has become the most common way in which HIV is spread. Now, scientists have identified a specific part of the cells lining a woman's vagina that HIV binds to during infection.

For animal tests, they developed a chemical that blocked this gateway and so prevented the virus from entering the cells. The tests were conducted in a small group of macaque monkeys. Human trials are still some way off, but the scientists hope they could lead to the development of a HIV-blocking cream.

By Professor Rat 15 October 04