For years scientists have wondered why more people haven’t contracted HIV. Sure, the dastardly retrovirus has helped claim approximately 22 million lives and more people become infected every day, but experts estimate that only 1 in 100-200 people who come into contact with the bug end up getting infected. Now they may know why.
Dutch scientists have discovered that the human-produced protein, Langerin, can effectively dismantle the virus. Teunis Geijtenbeek, an immunologist from Vrije University Medical Center in Amsterdam says:
…We observed that Langerin is able to scavenge viruses from the surrounding environment, thereby preventing infection.
And since generally all tissues on the outside of our bodies have Langerhans cells, we think that the human body is equipped with an antiviral defense mechanism, destroying incoming viruses.
With this discovery, some say, there’s the distinct possibility of raising Langerin production and, thus, helping halt more infections.
This promising discovery comes on the heels of another study that suggests we can use the b12 antibody to halt HIV uptake into healthy cells. Taken together, one gets the distinct impression we can stop this thing all together. But, of course, that’s still years away. Oh well. You know what they say about patience being virtuous and all that.