A recent study might help future researchers end HIV transmission. According to scientists at Northwestern University, blocking the sugar and nutrient pipeline of the human immunodeficiency virus -- the virus that can cause AIDS -- can help starve it to death.
The researchers claimed that the Achilles’ heel of HIV is its appetite for sweets and sugar, whose deprivation can ultimately lead to its downfall. The virus is known to consume the sugar and nutrients of the activated immune cell that it attacks, known as a CD4+ T-cell. The consumed amount of energy is then diverted toward the multiplication of the virus.
During the research experiment, the scientists came across a switch that triggers the pipeline, which supplies nutrients and sugar to the HIV virus. The researchers successfully blocked the pipeline, dubbed phospholipase D1 (PLD1), with the help of an experimental compound.
Deactivation of PLD1 resulted in stoppage of nutrient supply to the virus. HIV was thus left deprived of the material that helps its replication in the cells. However, the experimental results have been reported as positive only when conducted on human cells in vitro.
“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 Harry Taylor, in a statement. The research findings might help devise a future treatment for cancerous cells, which also use sugar and nutrients within the cell to replicate itself and spread throughout the body.
The researchers believe that the study findings call for further research into the field, which can eventually be used to stop the propagation of the virus during the initial stages.