New HIV Discovery
In September of 2008, a team of Canadian researchers reported on the discovery of certain proteins never seen before by the scientific community, which were found among a tiny cluster of sex workers set within a larger group of prostitutes hailing from Kenya. These unusual proteins seem to be linked with an ability to resist infection of the HIV virus which is responsible for causing AIDS. This new finding is important in that it might just lead to an improvement in the composition of vaccines and medications designed to battle the often fatal virus, which many can't help but view as a death sentence. Some 40 million people throughout the world are infected with HIV, according to the newest scientific reports. That makes any new discovery on the topic a crucial piece of the puzzle, something that might lead to a cure for this malady that is sweeping its long arm across the world at large.
In the current study, Adam Burgener and his team of researchers found that 140 out of the more than 2000 sex workers, subjects of a study in Nairobi, Kenya, were found to be resistant to the HIV infection. It appears that such resistance was thought to be due to substances contained within the vaginal fluid of the prostitutes. Researchers posit that biological causes might be at play in determining the presence of these protective substances which were found within the sex workers' vaginal fluids. However, the scientists have yet to identify the exact nature of these substances which are types of proteins.
In order to detect such differences in the vaginal fluid of the Kenyan prostitute participants, the researchers employed an up-to-the-minute technique, a type of analytical method that is able to spot deviations between the proteins found in HIV resistant women's vaginal fluids as compared to those proteins in the vaginal fluids of women who are either infected with HIV or are susceptible to such infection with the virus. The proteins found in the vaginal fluid of the HIV resistant sex workers were markedly different from those proteins found in the vaginal fluid of the female prostitutes who were found to be either infected or at risk for infection. The vaginal fluids of those women determined to be HIV resistant contained much higher levels of those proteins containing anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties.
The researchers believe that these discoveries may end up forming the basis for new therapies which might end up preventing infection with the HIV virus.