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HIV: from pathogen to ally

By Clare S Ryan, on 12 December 2011

The HIV virus is one of the world’s most deadly killers. We are now 30 years into a global pandemic and the estimated number of deaths from AIDS worldwide is around 24 million, with a further 33 million currently living with HIV.

But that’s not the whole story. To commemorate World AIDS Day, Professor Mary CollinsLunch Hour Lecture presented a radical idea: using the HIV virus as a new medicine.

Although the thought of injecting HIV doesn’t immediately sound like an appealing prospect, there are quite a few convincing arguments as to why it’s a good idea, and of course, virologists go in for a bit of genetic jiggery-pokery before coming at you with a needle.