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ENGLEMED HEALTH NEWS - 1/12/08

Ideas for Aids treatment - but patients must take it

Monday December 1st, 2008

The mineral selenium may have a major role to play in protecting against the Aids virus, researchers reported yesterday.

Laboratory studies show that boosting selenium content in the blood can cut the rate of spread of HIV by nine tenths.

The research, from Penn State University, USA, is based on the finding that HIV targets selenium-based proteins first - as they are a key component of the immune system defences.

Reporting their findings in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, scientists say that one response to the attack may to increase the number of these proteins - by adding selenium to the system.

The research was one of several released for World Aids Day yesterday.

Researcher Sandeep Prabhu said: "Since HIV targets the selenoproteins, we thought that the logical way to deal with the virus is to increase the expression of such proteins in the body."

In a study reported in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, researchers warn of the danger posed by young adults and teenagers infected with the virus.

The research, conducted in Haiti, found that young patients were reluctant to continue with treatment - and were likely to engage in unsafe sex.

Researcher Dr Daniel Fitzgerald, of Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, said: "Treatment adherence in young people is often aggravated by psychological and social issues including depression, sexual abuse and lack of family support. Strategies targeting their special needs are urgently needed."

Journal of Biological Chemistry November 28 2008

Tags: Flu & Viruses | North America | World Health

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