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August 19, 2010

New Strategy Could Eradicate Latent HIV-Infected Cells

AIDSmeds: "Researchers report that they have taken the first step toward killing cells that are latently infected with HIV—cells that serve as a reservoir of persistent HIV reproduction and that current antiretroviral (ARV) drugs can’t reach. Their findings have been accepted by the open-access journal AIDS Research and Therapy. ...

"After two weeks of treatment with the combination, no HIV DNA could be found, and this remained the case for an additional two weeks after the last dose of the treatment was added to the cells. The authors caution it is possible that some residual integrated HIV DNA was still present in the cells. Nevertheless, their results are encouraging.

“Stimulation of viral integration by the INS and INrs peptides, combined with the prevention of virion production by the protease inhibitor, not only resulted in blocking of HIV-1 infection but also in extermination of the infected cells by invoking apoptosis,” the authors concluded.

“Whilst this research is promising, a major caveat with these studies is that they are preliminary,” Loyter cautioned. “So far these experiments have only been shown to ‘cure’ HIV from small dishes of cultured cells in the authors’ laboratory, but the findings are an exciting development in the quest to eradicate this devastating global pandemic.”