Holy Cow! Clueless scientists look for HIV cure in cows, get shock of their lives

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New Delhi | Updated: Jul 23, 2017 12:49 PM

Do not underestimate your cows? They can be useful in more ways than you may have ever heard. Read this report to find out how.

cow, cow hiv, cow hiv cure, cow can cure hivIndian cows. (IE file)

Cows can cure HIV. Surprised? Well this is what researchers in the US have found. A study published in journal Nature by researchers at Scripps Research Institute, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) and Texas A&M University has found that cows hold the clue to HIV cure. The researchers were able to induce potent antibodies against HIV in cows. Cows never get infected by HIV. Their immune systems produce unique antibodies against infections.

As part of the research, the scientists injected four calves with HIV immunogens, reports the Time.com. The researchers discovered that the cows quickly developed bNAbs, or a neutralising antibody that defends a cell from an antigen or infectious body by neutralizing any effect it has biologically, to HIV in their blood. An immunogen is any antigen capable of inducing humoral and/or cell-mediated immune response instead of immunological response.

The scientists were pleasantly shocked by the unique discovery. “I was shocked,” TIME quoted study author Devin Sok as saying. He said that the calves developed responses against HIV at an unanticipated speed. Not only this, the scientists were also able to isolate the antibodies from the calves and they identified “NC-Cow 1” as the most powerful antibody attacking the HIV.

With the study, the scientists were able to study how the immune systems of cows is capable of creating such antibodies.

According to TIME, understanding of the immune system of cows that effectively develops antibodies against HIV is a “valuable information” for the scientists, who are hoping to develop an HIV vaccine. It will, however, depend on whether the scientists are able to develop a way through which human bodies can mimic the process through which cows create these antibodies.

Scientists have so far been unable to develop a vaccine against HIV. After this study, the researchers are hopeful of applying their finding on humans.

HIV is a global menace. According to a report by Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS, UNAIDS, ‘Ending AIDS: Progress towards the 90-90-90 targets’, India, China and Pakistan are among the 10 countries that accounted for more than 95 per cent of all new HIV infections in the Asia and the Pacific region in 2016.

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