UN scribe to address International AIDS confab

New York- UN (PANA) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says combating AIDS will be a top priority on his first official visit to Mexico, scheduled to begin on 3 August.
The secretary-general is billed to open the XVII International AIDS Conference i n Mexico City with Mexican President Felipe Calderon.
The conference will be held from 3-8 August.
A statement circulated at the UN headquarters on Thursday said: "Ban will reaffirm that the AIDS epidemic is not over and that a long-term vision to respond to it is needed.
" It stated that the UN chief is scheduled to meet with world leaders, hold talks with Calderon and Mexican Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa Cantellano.
"In addition, he will talk to people living with HIV, as well as to community gr oups, during the conference," the statement said.
It also noted that Ban plans to address a joint session of the Mexican Senate and Chamber of Deputies, and will also confer on climate change with authorities and meet with business leaders.
Meanwhile, HIV researchers at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston, U.
, said they thought they had found "the chink in armour of the virus linked to AIDS".
"The vulnerable spot is hidden in a protein essential for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the virus that causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), to attach to host cells," the university said in a release, also issued in New York on Thursday.
It stated: "An HIV vaccine does not exist because HIV is a mutating virus.
" But the scientists said they were focusing on a stretch of amino acids on HIV's envelope protein gp120.
"Unlike the changeable regions of its envelope, HIV needs at least one region that must remain constant to attach to cells.
If this region changes, HIV cannot infect cells," Sudhir Paul, a pathology professor at the university said.
The statement added that Paul's group engineered antibodies with enzymatic activity, called abzymes that can attack the virus' weakness.
"The abzymes recognize essentially all of the diverse HIV forms found across the world.
This solves the problem of HIV changeability," Paul said.
"The next step is to confirm our theory in human clinical trials," he noted.
PANA learnt that the theory has been scheduled for presentation during the International AIDS Conference taking place in Mexico City early next month.

24 july 2008 20:31:00

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