Scientists funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases say they have found a possible Achilles heel in HIV that could be a new target for an AIDS vaccine (Nature. 2000;407:386-390).
In studies of monkeys infected with the counterpart of HIV, simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison found that in the early weeks of SIV infection, CD8 killer T cells target a viral protein called tat. Furthermore, within 4 weeks, the virus was forced to mutate its tat gene to such an extent that all of the original infecting virus was replaced by SIV with a mutated tat gene.
Stephenson J. Promising HIV Vaccine Target. JAMA. 2000;284(15):1915. doi:10.1001/jama.284.15.1915