Promising new breakthrough on the HIV fight

A promising new breakthrough in the fight against aids.

It's important because scientists have developed a new way to possibly get the body to fight off the aids virus as soon as it invades.

At the Gladstone Institute in San Francisco, scientists have identified a genetic link that may neutralize HIV.

Researchers focused on the very early stages of the infection process.

"So we're looking at ways to beef up the first line of defense against infection," said Mario Santiago of the Gladstone Institute.

Scientists identified a gene in mice that may influence the production of antibodies that can attack the aids virus.

And now a 30 year old mystery is solved.

"It is a brand new approach to securing those desperately needed neutralizing antibodies," said Dr. Warner Greene of the Gladstone Institute.

Scientists expect to spend the next year testing the new approach, focusing on what's called a "restriction factor" that HIV targets.

"So if we can protect this factor maybe now individuals can mount very effective neutralizing antibodies that could check the virus at a much earlier point and contain the virus far more effectively following initial infection," said Greene.

This new research could help scientists develop new drugs and vaccines that may help people fight off the aids virus.

And while the development of any vaccine may be years away, scientists hope the discoveries made in this lab may one day play a major role in helping protect people against a virus that has already infected more than three million people worldwide.