Scientists have announced a potential major breakthrough in finding new HIV treatments.
French researchers have revealed they have successfully destroyed cells infected with HIV.
The scientists at Paris’ Institut Pasteur used metabolic activity inhibitors to eliminate ‘resevoir’ cells.
Antiretroviral drugs are unable to completely remove the virus.
Even when HIV is brought down to undetectable levels, a small amount of the virus is latent within certain cells.
The virus can also multiply if people stop taking their medication.
The virus remains in reservoirs, the CD4 lymphocyte immune cells, which are the main targets of HIV.
Eliminating these hidden reservoirs of virus has become a key target among scientists who wish to find a cure for HIV.
Theoretically, this French technique could perhaps eradicate HIV from the body altogether.
An Institut Pasteur spokesperson said: ‘The antiretroviral treatment used today is designed to block HIV infection but it is not able to eliminate the virus from the body.
‘The virus remains in reservoirs – the CD4 T lymphocyte immune cells, the main targets of HIV.’
HIV targets cells with high metabolic activity and ‘hijacks’ their energy in order to multiply.
The spokesperson also added: ‘Thanks to metabolic activity inhibitors, the researchers have managed to destroy these infected cells, or “reservoirs”, ex vivo.’
The next step in research will be assessing the potential of using this technique on living organisms.
Trump administration quietly shut down another study into a ‘cure’ for HIV in September.
The study implanted human fetal tissue into mice in its quest to find effective new treatment for HIV.
The human fetal tissue came from elective abortions. Although legal, anti-abortion groups oppose the research.
However, in late September, an email sent from a researcher at RML to the bioscience contractor that sourced the fetal tissue, said it would not be able to proceed.
In the email to Advanced Bioscience Resources in California, the researcher said: ‘[Department of Health and Human Services] has directed me to discontinue procuring fetal tissue from ABR, the only source for us. I think that they are the only provider of fetal tissue for scientists in the nation who don’t have direct access to aborted fetal tissue. This effectively stops all of our research to discover a cure for HIV.’