Technique to ‘kick and kill’ HIV developed


    New Delhi: Scientists have come up with a new ‘kick and kill’ technique to battle HIV.

    This technique uses a new molecule to awaken dormant virus cells and then kill them.

    Current anti-AIDS drugs are highly effective at making HIV undetectable and allowing people with the virus to live longer, healthier lives, said researchers at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in the US.

    The treatments, a class of medications called antiretroviral therapy, also greatly reduce the chance of transmission from person to person.

    However, the medications do not actually rid the body of the virus, which has the ability to elude medications by lying dormant in cells called CD4+ T cells, which signal another type of T cell, the CD8, to destroy HIV-infected cells.

    When a person with HIV stops treatment, the virus emerges and replicates in the body, weakening the immune system and raising the likelihood of opportunistic infections or cancers that can sicken or kill the patient.

    Researchers have been looking for ways to eliminate the “reservoirs” where the virus hides, and they may have now developed a solution – a technique called “kick and kill”.

    Their approach involves sending an agent to “wake up” the dormant virus, which causes it to begin replicating so that either the immune system or the virus itself would kill the cell harbouring HIV.

    Destroying the reservoir cells could rid some or all of the HIV virus from people who are infected.

    Although the scientists’ approach has not been tested in humans yet, a synthetic molecule they developed has been effective at kicking and killing HIV in lab animals.

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