New molecule uses 'kick and kill' approach to eliminate dormant HIV

Researchers may have finally found a way to eliminate the HIV reservoirs that often remain hidden in the body.

    2017/10/09

NSFW    LOS ANGELES — Researchers may have finally found a way to eliminate the HIV reservoirs that often remain hidden in the body.

Science Daily reports that HIV spreads by taking over a cell's DNA and using it to make copies of itself. Most AIDS treatments are engineered to block this replication cycle, effectively stopping the spread of the virus.

But though these drugs allow patients to live longer, they do not rid the body of the virus, which hides in reservoirs and re-emerges once treatment stops.

A new 'kick and kill' approach aims to get rid of these reservoirs by using a synthetic molecule called SUW133 to wake up the dormant virus, which will then be eliminated by antiretroviral therapy.

The technique was developed by researchers from UCLA, Stanford, and the National Institutes of Health, and is detailed in a study published in PLOS Pathogens.

When tested on HIV-infected mice that had been given antiretroviral drugs, 25 percent of the once-dormant virus cells died within 24 hours of being reactivated.

With further development, researchers believe the technique could lower the viral reservoir enough for infected patients to stop antiretroviral treatment.

The molecule will also need to be tested on larger animals before it can go to human trials.
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