Scientists reveal potential for new HIV therapy

Researchers at the University of California have announced their intention to develop a new HIV therapy, through targeting the protein Nef.

Regular HIV medication aims to thwart three different enzymes produced by the virus, but a high-resolution snapshot of a fourth has been taken.

The Nef is bound to a main host protein and will therefore make a promising target for the next generation of HIV treatments, according to the researchers.

James Hurley, a structural biologist, said: "Having these details in hand puts us in striking distance of designing drugs to block the binding site and, in doing so, block HIV infectivity."

Scientists proved 20 years ago that without the Nef protein, HIV is much less infective - with some patients living for decades after being diagnosed with a Nef-defective virus.

The news comes after the US government recently pledged to spend an extra £60 million on finding a cure for Aids.