Here are links to the original articles and some press reports on some of the recent research I mentioned in class, all from 2009:
A new human immunodeficiency virus derived from gorillas.
We have identified a new human immunodeficiency virus in a Cameroonian woman. It is closely related to gorilla simian immunodeficiency virus (SIVgor) and shows no evidence of recombination with other HIV-1 lineages. This new virus seems to be the prototype of a new HIV-1 lineage that is distinct from HIV-1 groups M, N and O. We propose to designate it HIV-1 group P.
Reported on CNN: Researchers identify new strain of HIV derived from gorillas
Long-Term Control of HIV by CCR5 Delta32/Delta32 Stem-Cell Transplantation
Infection with the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) requires the presence of a CD4 receptor and a chemokine receptor, principally chemokine receptor 5 (CCR5). Homozygosity for a 32-bp deletion in the CCR5 allele provides resistance against HIV-1 acquisition. We transplanted stem cells from a donor who was homozygous for CCR5 delta32 in a patient with acute myeloid leukemia and HIV-1 infection. The patient remained without viral rebound 20 months after transplantation and discontinuation of antiretroviral therapy. This outcome demonstrates the critical role CCR5 plays in maintaining HIV-1 infection.
Reported in Time: Can a Bone-Marrow Transplant Halt HIV?
FGI-104: a broad-spectrum small molecule inhibitor of viral infection
The treatment of viral diseases remains an intractable problem facing the medical community. Conventional antivirals focus upon selective targeting of virus-encoded targets. However, the plasticity of viral nucleic acid mutation, coupled with the large number of progeny that can emerge from a single infected cells, often conspire to render conventional antivirals ineffective as resistant variants emerge. Compounding this, new viral pathogens are increasingly recognized and it is highly improbable that conventional approaches could address emerging pathogens in a timely manner. Our laboratories have adopted an orthogonal approach to combat viral disease: Target the host to deny the pathogen the ability to cause disease. The advantages of this novel approach are many-fold, including the potential to identify host pathways that are applicable to a broad-spectrum of pathogens. The acquisition of drug resistance might also be minimized since selective pressure is not directly placed upon the viral pathogen. Herein, we utilized this strategy of host-oriented therapeutics to screen small molecules for their abilities to block infection by multiple, unrelated virus types and identified FGI-104. FGI-104 demonstrates broad-spectrum inhibition of multiple blood-borne pathogens (HCV, HBV, HIV) as well as emerging biothreats (Ebola, VEE, Cowpox, PRRSV infection). We also demonstrate that FGI-104 displays an ability to prevent lethality from Ebola in vivo. Altogether, these findings reinforce the concept of host-oriented therapeutics and present a much-needed opportunity to identify antiviral drugs that are broad-spectrum and durable in their application.