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Sea algae: new weapon against HIV?

Interesting research ongoing in Brazil: Dr. Luiz Castello-Branco has spent the last 3 years studying the HIV-killing effects of a compound derived from algae. Apparently, in a Petrie dish of human cells, the algae reduces viral replication by 95%. Dr. Castello-Branco suggests that this algae could be added to a gel that women could use to protect themselves from HIV transmission during sexual contact. The algae will be tested in mice next month, and then human studies may begin as early as next year. Let’s all hope that the algae is as effective in humans as it seems to be in the lab! This could become a really great advance in HIV prevention.

This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at

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2 Responses to “Sea algae: new weapon against HIV?”

  1. Anonymous says:

    This is a very exciting blog. If the compound derived from algae reduces viral replication by 95%, could it also have some affect on the viruses that cause influenza, too? I just read your blog about “bringing to life” the Spanish flu virus that was found in the frozen corpse in the Alaska tundra. I’m trying to make a connection here. Am I on the right track? Anyway, kudos to Dr. Luiz Castello-Branco for his fight against the HIV virus.

  2. ValJonesMD says:

    Glad you’re enjoying some of the medical news from the field of infectious disease. I don’t think there is a connection between HIV replication and the mechanism of virulence in the Spanish flu virus. Unfortunately, virology is extremely complex and there doesn’t seem to be a magic bullet that works on viruses in general. Right now we have to target therapies to the individual virus.

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