Roughly one percent of the antibodies in your blood are of a type known as anti-gal, a type of antibody that is used for fighting serious infections such as Salmonella and E. coli. If you're not fighting a serious infection... well, they don't really do all that much.
For people with HIV and other serious viruses, though, that may soon change. Researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden have created a new molecule that binds, on one end, to anti-gal. At the other end, the molecule binds to HIV. The result is that these powerful disease fighting antibodies are attached to the viruses that usually hide from them, allowing the disease fighting powers of the anti-gal antibodies to destroy the HIV viruses.
While the treatment did not eliminate the viruses' ability to infect the cells, in an in vitro test, 90 percent of the HIV viruses in the sample were unable to infect their target cells.
The group is now working to adapt the molecules so that they will bind to MRSA, an antibiotic resistant strain of staph infection that has been spreading for several years now.