HIV/AIDS

23 October 2012

Motsoaledi lauds HIV discovery

The discovery of antibodies that could neutralise and kill the HI virus by SA scientists deserves to be celebrated, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said.

The discovery of antibodies that could neutralise and kill the HI virus by SA scientists deserves to be celebrated, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said.

"This is a great day in SA. Our researchers and scientists have done us proud once again."

A team of scientists at the Centre for the Aids Programme of Research in SA discovered that the immune systems of two women living with HIV were able to produce antibodies capable of neutralising and killing 88% of the virus.

"Our scientists have also in the past helped us understand the mother-to-child transmission of the virus. Their groundbreaking work brings us closer to developing an HIV vaccine," Motsoaledi said.

Participants should be thanked

The government was a co-funder of the study.

Other funders included the US National Institutes of Health and the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation.

Motsoaledi thanked the two women living with the virus who volunteered to be part of the research.

"Participants in research projects are never thanked enough. I thank the two women for being part of this they are also scientists in one way or another."

He said unlike in past years when government and scientists "did not see eye to eye", government would not meddle in the scientists' work, but support them.

(Sapa, October 2012)

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HIV/Aids expert

Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl qualified at the University of Pretoria before working for an HIV/AIDS NPO in Soweto for many years. She was named one of the Mail & Guardian's Top 200 Young South Africans in 2012.

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