US Scientists Develop Method to 'Kick And Kill' Hidden HIV in Cells, Coming Closer to Curing Disease

© Photo : US NIAIDHIV-infected H9 T cell
HIV-infected H9 T cell - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.01.2022
Even though medications exist to flush active HIV cells from an organism, none can yet cure the disease because the virus can stay "hidden" in some human cells.
Scientists from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), have discovered a new method of treating the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that could help to create a reliable method of curing patients for good.
In a publication in the Nature Communications medical journal, UCLA researchers said they had upgraded a method developed in 2017 to flush and kill a hidden HIV virus lying dormant in human cells.

"These findings show proof-of-concept for a therapeutic strategy to potentially eliminate HIV from the body, a task that had been nearly insurmountable for many years. The study opens a new paradigm for a possible HIV cure in the future", the study’s lead author, Jocelyn Kim said.

The 2017 method suggests using a special synthetic compound to activate a dormant HIV virus. The method was tested on mice with an altered immune system that resembles that of a human in combination with antiretroviral drugs normally used to kill an active HIV virus.
The earlier method killed some 25% of HIV virus in mice within 24 hours, but is not ideal, according to the study. The group of UCLA researchers, however, added "healthy natural killer cells", like those produced in a healthy human, to eliminate the reactivated HIV virus in mice. As a result of their tests, UCLA researchers reported a full elimination of the virus from the bodies of 40% of the mice in the study.
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The research gives extra hope to millions who suffer from HIV, that a cure will be found before the onset of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Currently, UCLA researchers are reported to be working to bring the success rate up to 100%. Further testing is hoped to reach the human trials stage.

"We will also be moving this research toward preclinical studies in nonhuman primates with the ultimate goal of testing the same approach in humans", Kim said.

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