A group of Japanese and West German researchers have discovered a gene believed to help spread the deadly Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome virus, a Japanese researcher said on Wednesday.

Yoshiyuki Kuchino, one of the researchers at the National Cancer Center, said the group had also found a substance known as supressor transfer ribonucleic acid that can prevent the gene from working.He said if the gene is deactivated, the AIDS virus stops spreading.

This discovery might enable the production of medicines to cure or prevent the killer disease, Kuchino said.