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Cows help researchers fight HIV. Here’s how.

Cow HIV virus D2Dinfo

The researchers found that cows produce antibodies that can be useful in developing treatments, or even vaccines, for a number of diseases – including HIV.

Researchers have long sought ways to help people infected with HIV to produce more neutralizing antibodies (Bnabs) – antibodies that are known to fight multiple forms of virus. Bnab is an important subject in HIV research, as the virus alters slightly with each cell division, meaning that a single, specific antibody can not follow. A new study revealed that cows can provide answers to scientists who are seeking to better understand how Bnab can be exploited.

As far as their composition is concerned, the antibodies that are largely neutralizing are remarkable because they are large and troublesome as regards proteins. Given these characteristics, scientists found that Bnabs resembled the types of antibodies detected in cows. The cows do not give up HIV, but after the researchers injected a protein very similar to the envelope of the virus, their bodies produced antibodies to block it. The proteins were then extracted and tested against multiple strains of HIV because they attempted to infect cells in a Petri dish.

Devin Sok, director of the discovery and development of antibodies to the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, told STAT News that the epiphany was “an alignment of stars, where we had veterinarians, scientists Anti-cow antibodies and HIV scientists.”


While the study is the first to reliably promote the development of Bnabs, it has not explained how to cause the same growth in humans. However, John Mascola, director of vaccine research at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said optimistically that “the study does not tell us how to vaccinate against HIV in people, Tells us how the virus avoids the human immune response “.

The discovery may also open the possibility of using cow’s blood in a clinical capacity to provide short-term protection against HIV or to help treat those who are already infected. The movement can help alleviate the suffering of patients among the estimated 1.1 million people in the US who are currently living with HIV.

Cow antibodies may also be useful in treating many other disorders because they appear to be capable of controlling multiple viruses and diseases. Dr. Vaughn Smider works with pharmaceutical companies to use them to fight autoimmune disorders, certain cancers and infectious diseases such as malaria. More broadly, scientists have used cows to find promising avenues for the production of TB remedies and even animal husbandry to develop resistance to climate change.

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