Researchers Are One Step Closer To A Cure For HIV

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The ability to cure the HIV infection eludes us, however, we can restrain the spread of HIV through the use of PreP medications, and protect the health of those already infected through antiretrovirals. New research has shown that an antibody called 10-1074 is sufficient at neutralizing the virus, and is safe for humans to use. The successful trial means that we are one step closer in finding a cure. The research details tests the new HIV-neutralizing antibody in HIV-positive patients. In conclusion, the antibody also led to heightened antiviral activity in these individuals. Doctor Florian Klein, one of the researchers involved in the study, recently stated, “These antibodies are highly potent and are able to effectively neutralize a large number of different HIV strains. Therefore, they play an important role in the quest for and development of an HIV vaccine.”

Our immune system creates antibodies to fight viruses. These antibodies recognize a virus as a foreign body, and call on the immune system to destroy it. In the case of HIV, the virus is able to bypass our immune system by hiding out, reproducing, and if left untreated, completely destroying our immune system. A recent study into a cure and vaccine against HIV have focused on the use of specific antibodies that can better detect HIV. These antibodies will lure HIV out of hiding in the human body, allowing the immune system to destroy it. The anticipation is that a combination of several HIV-specific antibodies will help to destroy the virus and that this same treatment could be used as a vaccine, also.

While this is easier said than done, each small achievement brings us closer to this eventual target. For example, researchers were able to delay the “viral rebound” of an HIV-positive patient who stopped their antiretroviral regimen with another lab-engineered antibody named 3BNC117 last June. The antibody kept the patient’s viral load low for three times longer than the immune system could on its own, although eventually their viral levels did reach expected levels. More tests on the 10-1074 antibody research have been scheduled for spring of 2017.

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