UK: HIV microbicide from transgenic plants
Posted: May 29th, 2009 - 1:48pm
Scientists from St George's, University of London achieved a major advance by developing a protein that can kill the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) when used as a microbicide. What's more, the researchers have devised a way to produce the protein in plants in quantities enough to make it affordable for people in developing countries. The research is published in the current issue of the FASEB Journal.
Julian Ma and colleagues combined two known protein microbicides, b12 monoclonal antibody and cyanovirin-N, into a single molecule and showed that this molecule has greater anti-HIV potency compared to its individual components. Biologically active forms of the fusion molecule were produced from transgenic plants.
In a press release, FASEB Journal editor-in-chief Gerald Weissmann said: "This study is nothing short of a breakthrough-not only does it yield a new drug to fight the spread of HIV, but it also shows us how we can produce it on the scale necessary to get it into the hands of those who need it most."
The abstract of the article is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1096/fj.09-131995