Researchers find new way to put AIDS virus into remission

Researchers find new way to put AIDS virus into remission

American researchers have finally found a way to put the deadly AIDS virus into remission, raising a hope that HIV patients will be able to live for many more years without expensive medication.

The so-called “functional cure” is not a cure per se, but the researchers claimed that it could be of great help to HIV/AIDS patients.

According to the newly published report, the use of a combination of a vaccine and a drug helped researchers achieve remission in primates infected with SIV, which is a monkey version of HIV.

Current antiretroviral drugs simply suppress the virus to undetectable levels in HIV patients. But the virus is still there, in a dormant state. It gets alive the moment a patient stops taking the drugs.

In the new method, the researchers used a drug to wake the dormant virus. Then, it is attacked by the body’s immune system, which was stimulated by a vaccine to specifically target the virus.

Researcher Nelson Michael said, “The really exciting thing is that when we combined the TLR-7 and the vaccine, then we saw, after we took the animals off of antiretroviral drugs, that the level of virus that they were replicating fell by a hundredfold. And in some of these animals it looks like we may be actually in a position where there's not much virus left circulating at all.”

Michael, who oversees the HIV research program at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Maryland, called the new approach a game-changer in the fight against AIDS.

The researchers reported the experimental treatment regimen in the latest edition of the journal Nature.


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