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Yoghurt could help stop spread of AIDS: Research

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Yoghurt could help stop spread of AIDS: Research

Dharam Shourie

New York, Jan 18 (PTI)'Friendly bacteria' found in yoghurt has been genetically

modified by researchers in the US to produce a drug that blocks HIV infection.

Although the bacteria has only been tested in a lab dish, scientists are

optimistic the technique could provide a cheaper and more effective way of

delivering drugs to fight the spread of AIDS, by getting the bugs to live right

where the drugs are needed most, Nature magazine reported.

The bacterium (Lactococcus lactis) the researchers have modified naturally

produces lactic acid, and so is used to produce cheese and yoghurt. It is also

found in some parts of the human anatomy, including the gut and the vagina,

where the acid it produces damps down the growth of other, harmful bacteria,

Nature said.

Some 'probiotic' yoghurts are loaded with such beasties with the aim of keeping

consumers' guts healthy.

Bharat Ramratnam, an HIV specialist at Brown Medical School, Providence, Rhode

Island, and his colleagues, Nature says, have now altered the genetic make-up of

L.Lactis so that it generates cyanovirin, a drug that has prevented HIV

infection in monkeys and human cells, and is on track for human trials in 2007.




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