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Using Polymerase to Combat Infection?
Dec 1, 2000

I have been told that there aren't many t-4 receptors in the human body. If the genetic code for ~only~ the t-4 receptor could be isolated, couldn't PCR replicate the receptor?

What I'm wondering is this -- couldn't infected blood be passed through an artificial tube lined with an array of receptors, thereby getting the virus to release its codons not into a cell, but into the bloodstream where it would be harmless? It could be worn like a pacemaker.

Death to Disease.

Response from Dr. Stryker

Interesting thought, that perhaps one could "mimic" the process of HIV binding to T-4 (AKA CD4+ or helper cells)and trick the virus into releasing its deadly package of instructions (RNA) harmlessly into some non-infectious state. Unfortunately, the actual process is much more complicated than you imply, as HIV requires the presence of several receptors in addition to T-4, and they all have to be "presented" in just the right way to get the virus to infect cells. But the germ of the idea is a good one.

You are suggesting that we create an artificial target for HIV that would be so tempting, chemically speaking, that binding to it would render HIV harmless. This basic idea is a good one, and is the key idea behind a variety of drugs in development. The fusion inhibitor T-20 is in clinical trials now; it is a chemical that interferes with HIV entry in cells. So you are on the right track, and ideas like these may one day provide a way to prevent HIV from entering our bodies at all, surely a good thing! RAS

Rick Stryker, M.D., M.P.H.

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