The medical world might be on the brink of finally discovering the cure for HIV.
Medical researchers at the Paris’ Institut Pasteur say they have successfully destroyed cells that had been infected by the HIV. The very same cells that are usually treated with antiretroviral drugs.
Though the researchers admit they are the quite there yet, as far as removing the virus from the body is concerned. But they can kill and eradicate the cells within which the HIV hide. They term these cells as ‘reservoir’ cells.
“The antiretroviral treatment used today is designed to block HIV infection, but it is not able to eliminate the virus from the body. The virus remains in reservoirs, the CD4 T lymphocyte immune cells,” said a spokesperson for the Institut Pasteur.
The scientists explained that the HIV targets cells with high metabolic activity and ‘hijacks’ their energy so that they can multiply.
“Thanks to metabolic activity inhibitors, the researchers have managed to destroy these infected cells or ‘reservoirs.’ ex vivo.”
The researchers will next work on introducing the metabolic inhibitors ‘in vivo’; test it inside living organisms.
Ideally, if a patient using the antiretroviral drugs gets their viral load so low, this discovery could further destroy the cells where the virus hide in as they replicate. Hopefully, by killing these cells, the patient could be cured entirely of HIV, as they will not be able to spread throughout the body.
The research was funded by the Institut Pasteur, AmfAR (American Foundation for AIDS research) and the Sidaction.