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Exploring New Ways To Fight HIV, Ebola

NIAID / Creative Commons

We normally protect against viruses with a vaccine. You probably know how they work: a weakened or dead version of a harmful virus is injected into your body. Your body responds by producing antibodies to destroy the weakened virus. You’re then armed with the antibodies necessary to take on a healthier version of the virus. But, what about viruses like HIV? We don’t normally produce the right antibodies to fight it.

But scientists around the country are developing a new way of making sure the body produces the right antibodies. It could be used to treat HIV, Ebola, or malaria. Some of that work is being done here in Baltimore by Gary Ketner, professor and microbiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Carl Zimmer recently wrote about this technique, called "immunoprophylaxis by gene transfer", in The New York Times.

More of our interview with Gary Ketner.

Sheilah Kast is the host of On The Record, Monday-Friday, 9:30-10:00 am.