An answer to getting rid of HIV?

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Scanning electron micrograph of HIV-1 budding (in green) from cultured lymphocyte. Source and photo Credit: C. Goldsmith Content Providers: CDC/ C. Goldsmith, P. Feorino, E. L. Palmer, W. R. McManus - This media comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Public Health Image Library (PHIL), with identification number #10000.
Scanning electron micrograph of HIV-1 budding (in green) from cultured lymphocyte. Source and photo Credit: C. Goldsmith Content Providers: CDC/ C. Goldsmith, P. Feorino, E. L. Palmer, W. R. McManus – This media comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Public Health Image Library (PHIL), with identification number #10000.

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

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Scientist-entrepreneur-manager-journalist: -Co-founder, Author; Former Assistant Editor and Director, Biotechin.Asia, Biotech Media Pte. Ltd.; -Founder & CEO, SciGlo (www.sciglo.com); -Programme Management Officer, SBIC, A*STAR (former Research Fellow). --Sandhya graduated from University of Madras, India (B.Sc Microbiology and M.Sc Biotechnology) and received her Ph.D from the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She worked on oxidative stress in skin, skeletal, adipose tissue and cardiac muscle for a decade from 2006-2016. She is currently working as a Programme Management Officer handling projects and grants at Singapore Bioimaging Consortium (SBIC), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Earlier to this she was a Research Fellow in the Fat Metabolism and Stem Cell Group at SBIC. Sandhya was also the Vice President and Publicity Chair of A*PECSS (A*STAR Post Doc Society) (2014-2016). Recently she founded a platform for scientists - SciGlo (www.sciglo.com) and is a startup mentor at Vertical VC (Finland). She is an ardent lover of science and enjoys globe trotting and good vegetarian food.

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