Australian researchers claim they're close to finding a cure for AIDS by making the virus turn against itself.

Scientists from the Queensland Medical Institute focused their research on a protein called Nullbasic, which the HIV virus needs in order to replicated, Medical Daily reported.

They were able to modify the protein to significantly inhibit growth, and their experiments have been successful every time.

While the HIV virus would still exist in a person, it wouldn't be able to develop in to AIDS and the individual would maintain a healthy immune system.


"If this research continues down its strong path, and bear in mind there are many hurdles to clear, we're looking at a cure for AIDS," study author David Harrich said in a statement.

Animal trials of the protein will begin this year, according to the paper published in the journal Human Gene Therapy.

The number of New Zealanders living with HIV lies somewhere between 1800 and 2500. There are hundreds more who have the virus but don't know it. And others who won't admit they're infected, says Jane Brunning, who runs a national support network for people with the condition.

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