At the University of Maryland’s College of Agricultural and Natural Resources, researchers are testing a possible vaccination to stop the spread of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). HIV, one of the deadliest viruses in the world, causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). According to the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, roughly 7,000 people contract this virus daily.
UMD scientists are working to create a vaccine for HIV using a poultry virus called Newcastle Disease Virus (NDV). This virus is not dangerous to humans but it has devastating effects on the poultry industry due to the fact that it is extremely contagious. NDV infects birds similarly to how HIV infects humans. Non-infectious strands have been used as vaccinations for chickens for more than sixty years with good results. With funding from the National Institutes of Health, researchers hope to create a safe HIV vaccination for humans by inserting an HIV gene into a harmless, genetically engineered strand of Newcastle Disease Virus (NDV).
Researchers at the University of Maryland are collaborating with experts at the University of Maryland Baltimore and Duke University to analyze their findings. Department Chair Dr. Siba Simal calls the results thus far “encouraging” and hopes for more funding to continue research.
For more information, visit: http://agnr.umd.edu/news/stopping-spread-hiv
October 8, 2012