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Two-Step Treatment May Flush HIV Reservoir

Two-Step Treatment May Flush HIV Reservoir


A team of researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles have reported that they may have uncovered a two-step approach that flushes out HIV reservoirs in the body, then kills the virus, offering the first hope for controlling a lifelong HIV infection. Writing in the September issue of the journal Immunity, the researchers say the process works by first using two compounds'interleukin-7 and prostratin'to partially activate HIV-infected resting T cells and then killing those cells by introducing antibodies that attack HIV. When resting T cells are dormant, anti-HIV drugs cannot find them to work against the virus hiding inside. The technique'already tested in mice and now being studied in monkeys'could allow people to take years or even decades off antiretroviral therapy because there would be a minimal surviving HIV reservoir to reseed the body with virus once the drugs were stopped, the researchers say. The approach effectively cleared 70% to 80% of the reservoir of latent HIV-infected T cells in mouse studies.

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