Cure for HIV/AIDS is harder to find because the medicines used till for the disease just make the virus go hiding. In such a state, the virus level is very low until antiretroviral therapy (ART) treatment is used, but once the meds are stopped, the HIV forms again and the disease is not cured at all. The biggest challenge is to make the virus visible so that it can be eliminated completely and end the epidemic from a human body for once and all.
— UNAIDS (@UNAIDS) January 24, 2020
The Researchers at North Carolina University and Emory University in Atlanta used a drug called AZD5582 on lab monkeys which forced the virus to reactive and then eliminate it. The shock and kill method to cure HIV worked in monkeys and it could soon be used for curing HIV in humans too as clinical trials will start very soon.
HIV Cure Experiment on Monkeys
The University of Emory research team experimented on 12 monkeys infected with SIV (similar to HIV disease) and treated with ART treatment. The researchers used the AZD5582 drug to force the HIV virus out of hiding from the monkeys’ bloodstream. While the drug appeared to be almost safe, with a single exception where one monkey had a temporary fever and was experiencing a loss of appetite.
The North Carolina team has carried out a similar test on mice infected with human HIV infected cells and it also brought breakout results. Hence, the next step of the team is to combine their study and start human trials for curing HIV.
Human Trials for Curing HIV are Next
Ann Chahroudi, who has been the co-author of both the research papers has said that “ZD5582 has been remarkable to reactivate latent SIV from resting CD4+ T cells, and was able to induce continued virus production in the bloodstream of monkeys when they were still receiving daily antiretroviral therapy.”
The most exciting part about these papers is that results in two different animal models bring the same result and it has opened new possibility of HIV cure in humans too. It means if the human trials using the same method are succesful, HIV will be cured very soon.