A compound found in soybeans can be used in new treatments to inhibit the deadly HIV infection, scientists claim.
Researchers from George Mason University in the US found that genistein, derived from soybeans and other plants, may become an effective HIV treatment without the drug resistance issues faced by current therapies.
Genistein is a "tyrosine kinase inhibitor" that works by blocking the communication from a cell's surface sensors to its interior. Found on a cell's surface, these sensors tell the cell about its environment and also communicate with other cells.
HIV uses some of these surface sensors to trick the cell to send signals inside. These signals change cell structure so that the virus can get inside and spread infection.
But genistein blocks the signal and stops HIV from finding a way inside the cell. It takes a different approach than the standard antiretroviral drug used to inhibit HIV.
"Instead of directly acting on the virus, genistein interferes with the cellular processes that are necessary for the virus to infect cells," said Yuntao Wu, a professor, said.