The current HAART therapy against HIV uses a combination of several different drugs, which decreases the probability of simultaneous development of resistance against different drugs. Team of Slovenian undergraduate students from the University of Ljubljana together with their mentors from the National institute of chemistry of Slovenia (NIC) developed a new strategy of antiviral defense that is not breached by viral mutations. Their approach, which the students half-jokingly called »Virotrap« is based on detecting viral function rather than specific sequences.
Viral function such as attachment to the host cells triggers a cellular response which can either activate the antiviral defence or lead to a destruction of infected cells to prevent spread of the infection. The effect of viral mutations is thus avoided since mutations that cause the loss of the function also render the virus harmless. Leader of the team, prof. Roman Jerala from the NIC says: “The same approach could be implemented for defence against other viral infections. We think we can design the system that can be activated also by other HIV-specific functions”. Animal experiments will be needed to test the therapeutic potentials of this system, which would be applied as gene therapy but results on cells look very promising.
Team competed with this project at the recent international Genetically Engineered Machines competition iGEM) held at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the first weekend of November and was among the 56 teams selected among the six finalists and won the fist prize among the projects on the topic of Health and Medicine. Other interesting projects in this competition included artificial blood made of bacteria by the Berkeley team (Bactoblood), anticancer therapy based on the siRNA by the Princeton team, Infector detector by the Imperial College team, multicellular organisms based on bacteria by the Paris team and many others.
Brigita Pirc | alfa
Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement
26.06.2017 | University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine
New insight into a central biological dogma on ion transport
26.06.2017 | Aarhus University
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
26.06.2017 | Life Sciences
26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
26.06.2017 | Information Technology