According to research published last week in the medical journal Blood, scientists at Johns Hopkins University said that they have learned how to disarm the AIDS virus by eliminating the cells' membranes, stopping it from hijacking the immune system.
Scientists stated that they can eliminate a membrane of cholesterol used by HIV to disguise itself and disarm the immune system. AIDS steals the cholesterol from the first immune response, then uses it to communicate with the rest of the immune system, eventually destroying it.
However, by stripping the AIDS virus of that essential cholesterol membrane, the deadly disease is attacked by the immune system and shut down.
David Graham, a molecular biologist at Johns Hopkins University, told Voice of America: "By stealing cholesterol from the envelope of the virus, we can neutralize the subversion. We’ve broken the code. We can shut down the type of interference that HIV is having on the immune system."
The report said the treatment method could lead to a vaccine against the virus, which affected 33.3 million people worldwide in 2009. AIDS accounts for about 1.8 million deaths each year.