The research for a cure to HIV, that was being conducted by the CHERUB Collaboration for the past few years, now seems to be entering it’s final stretch.
This research, which was first initiated in 2014 focuses on a kick and kill approach that involves looking for hidden HIV infection and destroying it from the body.
In this way, it is much similar to Activating Immune Cells, as it relies on the body itself to do the hard work, as it naturally should.
To understand what we mean, it is important to first understand the nature of HIV as a disease. This highly lethal disease, works on two levels, one overt and another covert.
The overt level involves active HIV components that attack the body constantly. They can, and are often killed with the help of special medication called Anti-Retroviral Therapy or ART drugs.
The covert part involves the dormant portion of the virus, which can hide inside cells and is also known as HIV Reservoir. Since it is hidden, it isn’t attacked by the ART drugs, thus helping the disease remain untreated.
The kick and kill approach mentioned above focuses on finding and killing this hidden part of the virus, so that all residual traces of HIV can be purged from the system.
In order to do so, the researchers have developed new drugs called HDAC Inhibitors, which kick the dormant HIV virus into action. Once the virus is stimulated, it can then be detected by the ART drugs and killed off.
Through this process, they are able to ensure that no part of the HIV virus remains in the body. Amazingly, this hypothesis has already been tested and proven successful in human trials.
The patient who proves the success of this treatment is a 44-year-old social worker who was one of 50 people who initially participated in the trial.
The researchers are currently working on verifying the data collected during this trail, so that they can truly prove that their system works.
If they are successful, we would find ourselves looking at the first true cure for HIV, which is a very exciting prospect in itself.