More Facts Bring New Challenges

Scientists Unveil New HIV Targets

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HIV depends on human proteins to do its dirty work. While scientists had previously identified only 36 targets, new genetic research opens a whole new world. And mountains of more work:

The proteins it exploits have been dubbed HIV dependency factors, and 36 had been discovered. The new research, published online Thursday by the journal Science, found 273 of these potential HIV targets.

It will take far more research to figure out the role each of these proteins plays in HIV’s life cycle.

But most of today’s AIDS drugs work by targeting the HIV virus itself. In August, the government approved sale of the first drug that works by blocking an HIV dependency factor, a cellular doorway called CCR5. The hope is that this longer list of those factors will point toward spots where similar drugs might work.

No one said it would be easy…