Breakthrough Reported In Aids Research
A scientist says he has succeeded in causing AIDS in monkeys with a virus more closely resembling the one that infects people - a development that overcomes one obstacle to the development of drugs and vaccines against the disease.
Vaccine research had been slowed because HIV, the human AIDS virus, has not caused monkeys to become sick with AIDS. However, monkeys can develop the disease from the simian immunodeficiency virus, which is similar to HIV.
Bill Narayan, a virologist at the University of Kansas Medical Center, used a virus developed by Harvard researchers that combines parts of HIV with SIV. He then increased the strength of the hybrid virus by passing it from monkey to monkey through bone marrow transplants.
Within six months of being infected with the newly developed virus, about 20 monkeys developed many of the symptoms seen in humans. Three monkeys have died so far of AIDS-related causes, and four others are severely ill.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, called the new virus a significant finding.
“We have been trying for so many years to find an animal model for HIV,” he said. “This model will accelerate research.”