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ScienceDaily (Aug. 8, 2008) — Hopes languished last September when a promising candidate HIV vaccine failed to work. Despite this setback, many researchers still believe immunization is possible, and a new study suggests they're correct—at least at the cellular level.
Working in mice infected with HIV, a team used a method called RNA interference to knock down three genes in T cells, protecting them from the virus. This method seemed to prevent HIV from jumping between cells in the mice.
"For the first time, we've used RNAi to dramatically suppress HIV infection in an organism," says corresponding author Premlata Shankar, who conducted the work while she was a junior investigator at the Harvard Medical School-affiliated Immune Disease Institute and an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. Shankar is now a professor at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso.