Sunday , June 13 2021

Meet the non-kin that leads the progress of HIV

Andres Finzi is from Neuken and has a long academic and professional career, investigating the AIDS virus.

In 2015, he and his team made a great discovery, opening up the possibility of getting a preventive vaccine or a new form of treatment for the sick in the future.

Now, a few days ago, a team led by researchers from the University of Montreal Research Center in Canada, the University of Tafts Medical School in the US and the University of Melbourne in Australia presented a new breakthrough in the fight against the deadly virus.

"The infected cell is a factory that generates thousands of viral particles, and we want to eliminate the infected cell, the problem being that this cell is completely invisible to the immune system for many reasons," he said, explaining didactically what a very young boy is interested in , thanks to her mother, to the study of HIV.

"We found (in 2015) one of these reasons, and it is that the shell of the virus is closed, and when the shell is closed, it looks like the cage on Harry Potter's cloak of invisibility. We remove the layer, add a small molecule that is like a molecular cannon opener, and when we do it as if we were removing the layer; as if the envelope opens and when opened, the antibodies that were generated during the infection can recognize the open shell and eliminate the infected cell.

"We knew that when we did, it worked, but we wanted to know why it works, what shape the shell has, what shape it can have when we open it." The question is quite simple because it is known that the viral envelope the AIDS virus can have three forms: Form 1, Form 2, and Form 3. "

– But the answer is none. This is not 1, 2 or 3, and the fourth is a form that has never been seen because the virus does not want to show it. We call it a 2A form because it stems from Form 2 of the virus and A because when the virus stabilizes in this way, it is exposed to the immune response as an ADCC type response, "explained Finzi in the colloquial language of the new discovery, published in the prestigious magazine "Cell Host & Microbe".

"This discovery we made is that we show that the virus can take the fourth form and that when it takes the fourth form, the virus does not like it because it can be eliminated very effectively," he sums up the unkind that he did his entire academic career. in Canada and the United States.

"What we are doing now is to see if we can stabilize this form of life, ie in animals, to see if what we have found works in the context of the infection, because for now everything we did, we did in vitro, in a laboratory, "Finzi believes in the next steps he will take with his research team.

"Now we are getting new funding to see if it works on animals, which is the previous stage that can, if all goes well, someday go to people," he said.

"It does not mean that this will lead to healing. At best, this would be complementary treatment, "

The Doctor and the scientist from Neuken, Andres Finzi, cautiously warned.

Of course, any progress in this respect illusion with possible treatment or at least more intensive treatment. However, Finzi prefers to be cautious and not to generate false expectations.

"There are so many stages to go through, this is really a strategy that goes with viral treatment, but it is so far that I always try to avoid saying it because the last time I received hundreds of emails from people, wanting to come to Montreal to give it the molecule, and that's not possible, "said Neueken, who left the city at 17 to exchange and who, for love, settled on Canadian soil.

He went on: "This is a strategy that if ever good for animals, it can be applied to humans, but that does not mean that this will lead to cure, capable, at best, of being additional treatment."

"Science is good, there is potential, but to say that it is a form of treatment is a bit strong," concluded Finzi.

Finski's steps in the academic and scientific world

  • 1998-2001: Biology degree (specialization in microbiology and immunology), University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
  • 2001-2003: Master of Microbiology and Immunology (transfer to Ph.D.), University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
  • 2003-2007: Doctor of Virology and Immunology, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
  • 2007-2011: Doctor of Virology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
  • 2011-2017: Assistant, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
  • 2017 to date: Associate Professor, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
  • From 2014: "Canadian Research Department for Retrovirus Injection".

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