HIV Cure 'Within Months': Human Trials Suggest Treatment Ready By 2013
Danish scientists are confident that a successful HIV cure will be ready within months. According to Medicine Net, a research team at Denmark's Aarhus University Hospital commenced the human trials phase, which is already exhibiting positive treatment results against the deadly virus responsible for AIDS.
A complex technique, the HIV cure involves freeing the virus from DNA. According to the Telegraph, the virus is extracted from "reservoirs" it formed within resting immune cells. Once the HIV virus is brought to the surface of the cell, then the body's natural immune system can commence an aggressive attack to the deadly virus.
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"I am almost certain that we will be successful in releasing the reservoirs of HIV," said Dr. Ole Sogaard, senior researcher at Aarhus University Hospital. Sogaard believes the clinical trials are delivering promising results.
An exclusive sample set, only 15 HIV patients are involved in the pioneering HIV trials program. If the patients are treated, then the HIV cure will be tested on a larger scale. Scientists expect to present the first results from the trial by the second half of 2013.
"The challenge will be getting the patients' immune system to recognize the virus and destroy it. This depends on the strength and sensitivity of individual immune systems," explained Sogaard on the challenges of the trial.
"When the first patient is cured in this way it will be a spectacular moment," says Dr. John Frater, a clinical research fellow at the Nuffield School of Medicine, Oxford University, and member of the CHERUB group.
"It will prove that we are heading in the right direction and demonstrate that a cure is possible. But I think it will be five years before we see a cure that can be offered on a large scale."
The key of the treatment is to find a way to deliver the HIV cure on a mass scale. It is important for the HIV cure to be mass-distributable and affordable for the multitude of patients that suffer from AIDS.
In 2007, AIDS patient Timothy Ray Brown developed leukemia. Undergoing a bone marrow transplant, Brown received marrow containing a rare genetic mutation that is resistant to HIV. Remarkably, Timothy Ray Brown became the first man to be fully cured of AIDS. A case study in many schools of medicine, Timothy Ray Brown is also known as the "Berlin Patient." Unfortunately, replicating this procedure on a mass scale is impossible.
Despite the possibility of an HIV cure within months, Sogaard emphasized that the cure is not a vaccine that protects a person from contracting the virus. Sogaard urges the public to practice protected sex and avoid sharing needles during intravenous drug use.
Decades in the making, the HIV cure represents a major medical breakthrough. Meanwhile, the U.S. National Institutes of Health reports that testing on an HIV vaccine is currently put on hold as the shots did not prevent infection. According to the Associated Press, a clinical trial for the vaccine involved 2,500 participants. Half of the subjects were given the vaccine while the other half received a placebo shot. Alarmingly, a review found that more of the people who had received the vaccine later became infected with HIV.
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