New CD4 treatment for HIV being explored in Taiwan

Dr. David Ho was one of the first scientists to propose that AIDS was caused by a virus, and was first to promote a cocktail of protease inhibitors and antiretroviral therapy for AIDS patients. For this work he received the 1996 Man of the Year award from TIME magazine. He is a Taiwanese-American.

Genentech Inc, a US biotechnology research company, plans to found a research joint venture with the Taiwanese government in Hsinchu to develop AIDS treatments headed by Taiwanese-American researcher David Ho (何大一), Chinese-language news-papers said yesterday.

Ho has reportedly agreed to serve as chairman of the planned joint-venture — to be known as TaiMed — which is to be set up in Hsinchu Biochemical Science Park (新竹生醫科學園區), reports quoted Liang Chi-ming (梁啟銘), director of the Office of Public Affairs at the Academia Sinica, as saying.

Academia Sinica is the nation’s top research institute.

South San Francisco-based Genentech will transfer its CD4 antibody technology to TaiMed, the United Daily News said, citing Liang.

CD4, which exists on the membrane of T cells, is a primary receptor used by HIV-1 to gain entry into host T cells, which plays an essential role in cell-mediated immunity and targets of HIV infection. If developed successfully, the CD4 antibody will block CD4 from destroying the immune system.