A Stomach For The Fight
Humans have a lot to thanks cows for: they provide us with a source of milk and meat for starters. To the list could soon be added a cure for HIV, the virus which attacks the human immune system and causes AIDS. Scientists at International Aids Vaccine Initiative and the Scripps Research Institute in the US believe the complex digestive process of cattle lies behind their sophisticated immune system which has a “mind blowing” ability to fight HIV. While human immune systems find it difficult to cope with the virus’ constant mutation, a cow is able to get on the front hoof by developing the required antibodies in just a few weeks. Researchers Dr Devin Sok puts the result into perspective, “The response blew our minds. It was just insane how good it looked, in humans it takes three-to-five years to develop the antibodies we’re talking about. This is really important because we hadn’t been able to do it period.” And the cows’ antibodies appear to do the job as the research shows they are able to neutralise 96% of HIV strains in just 42 days. That deserves a pat on the back.