MONDAY, JULY 24, 2017

Biomarkers foreshadow HIV’s return after treatment ends

Biomarkers foreshadow HIV’s return after treatment ends | Courtesy of
A team of scientists at UNSW Australia and the University of Oxford recently have made a discovery that will allow researchers to better determine how quickly HIV will return to a patient after the person has stopped receiving HIV treatment.

This discovery is the result of a partnership between Oxford, UNSW and related international collaborators that has lasted for ten years. Thanks to this discovery, there are now new ways to understand why HIV continues in certain patients while being undetectable and dormant in others.

"The SPARTAC study will never be able to be replicated again and it has provided us with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to look at the causes of viral rebound in this particular group of patients with HIV," Professor Rodney Phillips, former Oxford don and now Dean of Medicine at UNSW, said. "Focusing on the exhaustion markers was an important step as it has given us vital clues as to why some people are able to better control the virus after therapy has been interrupted."

Understanding how HIV operates helps scientists to discover new, better treatments and diagnostics for the virus.

"We want to be able to predict how the virus will behave before we take patients off ART to test drug therapies aimed at eradicating HIV," Professor Anthony Kelleher, from UNSW Kirby Institute and co-author of the study, said.

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