Noting that only 4 million of the world's 33 million HIVers have access to antiretroviral therapy, mostly due to the high costs of the drugs, a group of HIV advocates, scientists, and pharmaceutical company executives have formed a 'collaboratory' aimed at finding the long-sought-after cure to HIV.
In a paper titled 'The Challenge of Finding a Cure for HIV Infection,' published in the journal Science, the group's founders say their agencies are collaborating to uncover a way to purge HIV from the body's reservoirs, kill those flushed-out viruses, and prime the body's immune system to suppress the few remaining viral particles without the need for anti-HIV medications.
'Finding a cure for HIV infection may be a pie-in-the-sky idea, but it would mean you could stop drug therapy and the virus wouldn't bounce back,' Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health told the San Francisco Chronicle, noting that the federal agency will support the collaborative research. 'It may never succeed, but it's surely worth trying.'
The authors of the paper include Warner Greene of the University of California, San Francisco's Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology; Daria Hazuda of Merck; David Margolis of the University of North Carolina; Douglas Richman of the University of California, San Diego; Roger Pomerantz of Johnson & Johnson; and the late Martin Delaney of San Francisco's Project Inform, to whom the paper was dedicated.