Researchers believe that there will be a breakthrough in finding a cure for HIV “within months”.
extracts from the article:
Danish scientists are expecting results that will show that “finding a mass-distributable and affordable cure to HIV is possible”.
They are conducting clinical trials to test a “novel strategy” in which the HIV virus is stripped from human DNA and destroyed permanently by the immune system.
The scientists are currently conducting human trials on their treatment, in the hope of proving that it is effective. It has already been found to work in laboratory tests.
The technique involves releasing the HIV virus from “reservoirs” it forms in DNA cells, bringing it to the surface of the cells. Once it comes to the surface, the body’s natural immune system can kill the virus through being boosted by a “vaccine”.
In vitro studies — those that use human cells in a laboratory — of the new technique proved so successful that in January, the Danish Research Council awarded the team 12 million Danish kroner (£1.5 million) to pursue their findings in clinical trials with human subjects. These are now under way, and according to Dr Søgaard, the early signs are “promising”.
Dr Søgaard stressed that a cure is not the same as a preventative vaccine, and that raising awareness of unsafe behaviour, including unprotected sex and sharing needles, remains of paramount importance in combating HIV.
The technique is being researched in Britain, but studies have not yet moved on to the clinical trial stage. Five universities — Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College, London, University College, London and King’s College, London — have jointly formed the Collaborative HIV Eradication of Reservoirs UK Biomedical Research Centre group (CHERUB), which is dedicated to finding an HIV cure.
“It will prove that we are heading in the right direction and demonstrate that a cure is possible. But I think it will be five years before we see a cure that can be offered on a large scale.”
The Danish team’s research is among the most advanced and fast moving in the world, as that they have streamlined the process of putting the latest basic science discoveries into clinical testing.