THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2016

New HIV therapy shows promise in eliminating latent virus from cells

Reports have recently surfaced regarding so-called "cured" HIV patients, though doctors were unable to completely eliminate the virus from the body, but new research revealed a comprehensive approach that could eliminate the latent reservoir of HIV.

A new study published in the journal Cell indicates that a "shock-and-kill" approach using drugs called inducers with virus-fighting antibodies to active dormant cells may help to eliminate the remaining virus in the body, Science Daily reports.

Currently, HIV infection can be controlled using antiretroviral drugs, which must be taken for life because previously dormant viruses become activated when the drug is stopped. Previous strategies to alter the HIV reservoir, including the use of inducers, have failed.

The combinative use of viral antibodies, however, can point the human immune system in the direction of latent, infected cells. To test the theory, a team of researchers at The Rockefeller University injected the virus into mice along with human immune cells and treated it using a combination of therapies, according to Science Daily.

Most of the mice treated with antibodies and inducers did not show signs of viral rebound, compared to antiretroviral therapy or viral antibody therapy alone.

According to the study's authors, while the approach is promising for the development of a cure for HIV, more clinical studies are needed, Science Daily reports.

"Disrupting the establishment and maintenance of the latent reservoir is a necessary step in curing HIV-1 infection," lead study author Ariel Halper-Stromberg said, according to Science Daily. "This study shows that combinations of antibodies and inducers can play a significant role in this process."