News from the field of HIV research has been pretty promising of late — this summer, we heard good news that antiretroviral treatment is superbly effective, at least when it's used correctly. And thanks to some video gamers, scientists' understanding of proteins involved in HIV keeps getting better. Now researchers have another tool in their arsenal: Stripping the virus itself of its ability to trick the human immune system.
HIV infection sends the immune system into overdrive and eventually exhausts it, which is what leads to AIDS. But removing cholesterol from HIV seems to cripple the virus' ability to over-activate part of the immune system, so it could potentially lead to a vaccine that lets the adaptive immune system attack and destroy the virus — just as it would if HIV was any other pathogen.