New study shows that cows are good in fight with HIV

In a recent study published in the journal Nature, it has been reported that cows have a “remarkable” ability to fight with HIV/AIDS. Researchers found that strong immune systems of the animals help them in the production of special antibodies that can neutralize the viruses. This is the first time that researchers reliably found the stimulation of the production of antibodies in animals.

It has been found that from 10 percent to 20 percent of human beings with HIV have an ability to develop the “broadly neutralising antibodies” (bNAbs). However, this development usually starts about two years after infection and by that time the virus has already mutated. In cows, researchers found that the administration of HIV proteins resulted in the development of immune responses within few weeks ranging from 35 to 50 days. Researchers are of opinion that this ability of cows could help in the development of vaccines for human beings.

Dr Anthony Fauci, who is the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said: “From the early days of the epidemic, we have recognized that HIV is very good at evading immunity, so exceptional immune systems that naturally produce broadly neutralizing antibodies to HIV are of great interest – whether they belong to humans or cattle.”

This study could be of significant help in the development of vaccines for human beings, even though cows do not get HIV/AIDS and bovine antibodies are still clinically unsuitable for humans.

“Immunization of cows may provide an avenue to rapidly generate antibody prophylactics and therapeutics to address disease agents that have evolved to avoid human antibody responses,” researchers noted in the research paper.

Sources: Nature, BBC, Independent

Usman Zafar Paracha

Usman Zafar Paracha is Assistant Professor, Pharmaceutics, in Hajvery University, Lahore, Pakistan.