A method of complete destruction of HIV has been discovered
Medicine offers patients with HIV to take a course of ARV drugs for life, but is not able to completely destroy the virus. Scientists from the United States have discovered a new treatment method that allows the human immune system to detect HIV "hidden" in cells and activate the means of its destruction. The first preclinical studies have shown that the method cleans infected cells from "sleeping" HIV by 100%.
HIV diagnosis has not been a death sentence for many years — the developed antiretroviral therapy is able to prevent the reproduction and spread of the virus in the body, providing patients with a normal life. However, the infection is still hiding inside the infected cells, ready to wake up as soon as the daily intake of drugs stops.
A new study suggests that HIV can be completely eliminated in the near future. The method, developed by experts from Washington University in St. Louis, is based on the CARD8 inflammasome — the "signaling" of the immune system, which detects the HIV protease and marks it for further destruction.
The problem is that HIV is cunning and knows how to avoid detection. Penetrating into the cell, it causes this protein to "shut up", and activates it usually only when it leaves the immune cells. Then CARD8 can't notice it.
Researchers have found a way to activate this protein while the virus is still inside the cell, and where CARD8 still has the ability to alert the immune system about the invasion. So the patient's body can be completely cleansed of sleeping HIV. Moreover, one of the drugs that makes the HIV protease active again is efavirenz, which is already used in the treatment of this disease.
Testing of the method on human cells has shown that it successfully copes with the destruction of infection. And it is even effective against various HIV subspecies spread all over the world.
The next stage of research will be animal testing, after which it will be possible to proceed to clinical trials.
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