Researchers have been working on targeted therapies to combat HIV for a long time now. Early last year, scientists from USA showed that the addition of an immunotoxin significantly reduced the number of cells with HIV in multiple organs. They had discovered a toxin that kills HIV-infected cells, specifically. This has paved way for researchers around the world to probe more into targeted therapies for viruses as dangerous as HIV. An HIV-specific poison can kill cells in which the virus is still reproducing despite antiretroviral therapy. This study, performed in mice, was published in January, 2014 in PLOS Pathogens. 40 mice bioengineered to have a human immune system were used. The mice were infected with HIV. After several months, the mice were given a combination of antiretroviral drugs for 4 weeks. Half the animals subsequently received a 2-week dose of the 3B3-PE38 immunotoxin to complement the antiretrovirals, while the other half continued receiving antiretrovirals alone. Compared to antiretrovirals alone, the addition of the immunotoxin significantly decreased the number of cells with detectable virus. It also lowered the level of HIV in the blood. These and previous findings suggest that immunotoxin treatment, when added to antiretroviral therapy, could help keep HIV in remission. The ultimate goal for such treatments would be to eliminate or control HIV infections well enough to allow people to live without a lifetime of continuous antiretroviral therapy.
The original publication can be read at: http://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article?id=10.1371/journal.ppat.1003872
Disclaimer: This article does not reflect any personal views of the authors/editors