News & Events
Testing a new HIV response
- February 19, 2020
- Posted by: Wiley M. Wagner
- Category: Science
Today, biologists from the University of Waterloo presented to the general scientific community a new method of combating the HIV virus – or rather, a new tool for a preventive strategy against HIV. The research team presented a new type of special vaginal implant based on polymeric materials and containing hydroxychloroquine – a catalyst substance designed to prevent T cells from starting their immune fight against HIV viral cells that penetrate sexual contact with an HIV-positive person . This tool has extremely high mobility of use and has already demonstrated positive results.
The researchers noted that, unlike traditional and standard methods of HIV protection – such as using condoms or special antiviral oral medications – their invention allows you to directly stop the spread of HIV infection in the environment of the vaginal walls. The principle of operation of this tool is very simple – when placed in the environment of the vagina, it starts the chemical process of hydroxychloroquine, thereby affecting T cells, preventing them from starting the process of fighting against viral cells. It is the T cells that are those immune cells that, when fighting the HIV cells, quickly become infected and thus become carriers of HIV infection.
Early studies in this area showed that it was the artificial “shutdown” of the functioning of these cells that would most likely prevent HIV infection, but there were still many unresolved issues.
For example, researchers are still carefully studying the potential side effects of using this tubular microdevice – some believe that even in the absence of T-cell function, viral cells can find an alternative way to infect the immune system. Scientists also believe that this method is unlikely to be the only one in the whole HIV prevention session – rather, it should be part of this prevention, along with other methods and tools to combat infection.