UCLA this week announced that its researchers have discovered a natural protein that could put the HIV virus out of business.

They said the protein contains an enzyme, cholesterol-25-hydroxylase (CH25H), that creates an oxysterol called 25-hydroxycholesterol (25HC), that can defeat not only HIV but Ebola, Rift Valley Fever, Nipah and other “priority pathogens.”

Complicated. We just want to know if it works:

The UCLA research, authored by Su-Yang Liu of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, was published in a recent issue of the journal Immunity.

It says the resulting oxysterol, according to a summary, can “permeate a cell's wall and block a virus from getting in.”

If only nightclubs could use this on Lindsay Lohan.

But seriously, can this be applied in real life, or is this another pie-in-the-sky lab discovery?

Liu seems to think this is for real, saying:

CH25H, however, produces a natural, soluble oxysterol that can be synthesized and administered.

Researchers put the protein in lab mice and found it “significantly” reduced their HIV load within seven days.

So far, though, the academics say it takes a lot of the protein to do its handy work. They're still working on it.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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