Scientists in Denmark working on a new strategy to combat HIV, the virus responsible for causing AIDS, believe their research will lead to a cure for the deadly virus "within months
Having already tested successfully in lab experiments, the technique frees the HIV virus from DNA cells, where it accumulates in "reservoirs," and brings it to the surface of the cells, the Telegraph reported.
Once exposed, the virus can be targeted and destroyed permanently by the body’s natural immune system which will be boosted by a "vaccine" researchers say.
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"I am almost certain that we will be successful in releasing the reservoirs of HIV," said Dr. Ole Sogaard, a senior researcher at the Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, told the Telegraph. "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."
The technique employed by the Danish scientist involves the use of drugs called HDAC Inhibitors, which are more commonly used in treating cancer. The HDAC Inhibitors drive out the HIV from a patient’s DNA.
Regarding the clinical trials with HIV-positive human subjects, Søgaard said the early signs are "promising."
The Danish Research Council in January awarded Søgaard's team approximately $2.1 million to continue their research following successful results on human cells in a laboratory.
Fifteen patients are participating in the trials.
If the treatment leads to the successful cure of HIV in any of the patients, further studies will be done on a much larger scale with the introduction of an immune system booster, the Telegraph reported.
In his announcement, Søgaard stressed that a cure for HIV is not equivalent to a preventative vaccine and that at risk individuals should remain vigilant and continue to guard against unsafe behavior, such as having unprotected sex and sharing needles.
Currently, HIV-positive individuals are able to live an almost normal life well into old age in some cases due to modern HIV treatment.
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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV infection, of which almost 1 in 5 (18.1%) are unaware of their infection.
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