Thursday, June 16, 2022

Why Cant Hiv Be Cured

Left Behind: Drug Companies And Researchers Have Overlooked Patients Who Dont Respond To Hiv Meds

Why its so hard to cure HIV/AIDS – Janet Iwasa

But that drug has the same issues that most drugs have: It needs to be taken every day. Just like any other suppressive therapy for HIV, as soon as a person stops taking the drug, the virus comes roaring back, said Fred Hutchinsons Jerome. In an ideal world, the treatment for HIV would look more like Luxturna, a recently approved gene therapy for a form of blindness thats injected just once into a persons eye, and less like Lipitor.

The beauty of a transplantation or a gene therapy approach targeting CCR5 thats the kind of thing that looks like you can do it once, and then the persons cured, Jerome said. They dont need to worry about the virus any more, they dont need to worry about their access to drugs or remembering to take it every day.

The most infamous gene therapy experiment targeting CCR5 is undoubtedly He Jiankuis, which and, later, actual children with a CRISPR-mutated CCR5 gene. His announcement triggered a massive backlash from scientists, ethicists, and the Chinese government.

Less controversial gene editing work is ongoing, too. Sangamo Therapeutics, for example, is working on genetically editing T cells and stem cells to carry the CCR5 mutation. According to the companys pipeline chart, that treatment is in early-stage clinical trials.

The virus may still be hiding out someplace and it may come back 10 years from now, Walker noted. You can never be absolutely certain that a cure has been achieved.

What Else Do I Need To Know About Taking Hiv/aids Medicines

It’s important to take your medicines every day, according to the instructions from your health care provider. If you miss doses or don’t follow a regular schedule, your treatment may not work, and the HIV virus may become resistant to the medicines.

HIV medicines can cause side effects. Most of these side effects are manageable, but a few can be serious. Tell your health care provider about any side effects that you are having. Don’t stop taking your medicine without first talking to your provider. He or she may give you tips on how to deal with the side effects. In some cases, your provider may decide to change your medicines.

Researching An Hiv Cure: The Main Approaches

  • ‘Activate and eradicate’ aims to flush the virus out of its reservoirs and then kill any cells it infects.
  • Gene editing changing immune cells so they cant be infected by HIV.
  • Immune modulation permanently changing the immune system to better fight HIV.
  • Stem cell transplants replacing a persons infected immune system with a donor immune system.
  • Although the stem cell approach has had some success in the past, its very dangerous for the patient. It would only be considered a viable option, if the person needed a stem cell transplant to treat another more deadly condition, such as very advanced leukaemia which, unlike HIV, doesnt have as many other safe and effective treatment options available.

    While there is promising research being carried out in these areas, there is no viable cure on the horizon.

    Recommended Reading: Which Cells Does Hiv Attack

    How Can Vaccines Help

    Many infections can be prevented by following the recommended vaccine schedule as proposed by the CDC, so be sure to keep up-to-date with your vaccines and those of your children. Your doctor and pharmacist can provide more information about important vaccines for you and your family.

    Vaccines are readily available in the U.S. to help prevent the COVID-19 infection. These vaccines are safe and effective, can help keep you out of the hospital, and can help prevent severe illness and death. Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines here.

    Antibodies To The Rescue

    Hiptoro: Cure for HIV/AIDS: Why there is no actual cure ...

    Perhaps the most promising avenue of all in HIV research, McNamara says, is that of broadly neutralizing antibodies. These naturally occur in the immune systems of asmall fraction of HIV patients whose infection never progresses to AIDS. Researchers are studying how to harness them to treat other patients.

    HIV is mutation-prone, which allows it to thwart the immune system and retroviral drugs that are made to target specific versions of the virus. For most patients with HIV, this means their immune system is always in hyperdrive, struggling to ward off a moving target. Its a nonstop war between the virus and the immune system, McNamara says.

    But some patients have a special type of antibody that is continually effective. When it comes to broadly neutralizing antibodies, the virus is never able to win, McNamara says. The antibodies have it check-mated.

    Though latent reservoirs are still an obstacle to them, broadly neutralizing antibodies show a lot of promise when it comes to keeping the virus at bay in particular, ensuring that the infection never progresses to AIDS and that its transmission risk is low. Some researchers are examining how they can be used both to treat and prevent HIV, while others are looking at how a combination of neutralizing and non-neutralizing antibodies may even have some effectiveness against latent cells.

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    Is It Hard To Take These Drugs

    The HIV medicines that currently are recommended are usually very simple and easy to take. Several drug combinations are available that package 3 separate medicines into only 1 pill, taken once a day, with minimal side effects.

    For the great majority of people, HIV medicines are tolerable and effective, and let people with HIV live long and healthy lives. For some people, the drugs may be difficult to take every day, and for a small number, they cause serious side effects or don’t work well.

    Once patients are on medications, they must work with their health care providers to find solutions for side effects and monitor how well the drugs are working.

    The good news is that there are many excellent HIV medicines. Finding the right combination of medicines for each person is usually possible–a combination that controls the virus but does not cause side effects.

    Two Sexes Are Not Enough

    In the three decades since, over 25 more highly-potent drugs have been developed and FDA-approved to treat HIV. When two to five of them are combined into a drug cocktail, the mixture can shut down the viruss replication, prevent the onset of AIDS, and return life expectancy to a normal level. However, patients must continue taking these treatments for their entire lives. Though better than the alternative, drug regimens are still inconvenient and expensive, especially for patients living in the developing world.

    Given modern medicines success in curing other diseases, what makes HIV different? By definition, an infection is cured if treatment can be stopped without the risk of it resurfacing. When you take a week-long course of antibiotics for strep throat, for example, you can rest assured that the infection is on track to be cleared out of your body. But not with HIV.

    Recommended Reading: What Kinds Of Hiv Tests Are Available

    Girls Hiv Infection Seems Under Control Without Aids Drugs

    Experts caution that this news should not be interpreted as having found a cure for everyone with HIV.

    It doesnt change things for the average person with HIV right now, said Dr. Bruce Walker, the director of the Ragon Institute, a research institute affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard, and MIT that specializes in HIV/AIDS and infectious diseases. It does change things in terms of the research agenda, because it further indicates that this is a potentially viable pathway forward to achieve a cure.

    That potentially viable pathway runs through a receptor called CCR5. CCR5 is one of a handful of receptors that HIV can use to get into a particular kind of cell.

    Those cells, called CD4-positive T cells, are vital to a persons immune system. You can sort of think of cells as the generals that are helping to orchestrate an effective defense, Walker said. If theyre not there, things tend to go haywire.

    Some people have a particular mutation in the genes that encode the CCR5 receptor that prevents the HIV virus from using it to get in to these T cells and no entry means no infection.

    What Are The Challenges

    Why can’t we cure HIV? (HIV vs AIDS) | learn with Shivani Moorthy

    While research on a cure is promising, there are some challenges. One is that we donât fully understand how HIV reservoirs work. Scientists are learning how to find, measure, and destroy them.

    What about stem cell therapy? The CCR5 mutation that protects you from HIV is very rare, so itâs hard to find donor cells. Also, stem cell therapy is risky. People can reject donor cells and become very ill. Scientists are trying to find therapies that make a personâs own cells resistant to the virus, so they wonât need donor cells.

    Another challenge is that males are the subjects of most HIV clinical trials, but about half of people with the virus are female. We need more studies to look at whether treatments will work on women and girls.

    Even though research is very promising, it could be a few years before these treatments are tested to be sure they work well and are safe to use in many people who have HIV.

    AIDSinfo.gov: âHIV Treatments: The Basics.â

    National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: âHIV Cure.â

    amfAR: âThe Countdown to a Cure for AIDS,â âPathways to an HIV Cure,â âMaking Sense of the Three Types of HIV Cure: The Berlin Patient, the Mississippi Child, and the VISCONTI Cohort.â

    Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center: âWorld AIDS Day: Stepping up the search for a cure.â

    Delaney Cell and Genome Engineering Initiative: âDefeat HIV: Scientific Overview.â

    Also Check: How Long Do You See Symptoms Of Hiv

    What Is Hiv Hiv Stands For

    H-Human

    I-Immuno-deficiency

    V-Virus

    As you can see above, the name speaks for itself. Its a human virus that weakens or defies the immune system of a human being. The virus works tirelessly as soon as it penetrates its way into the body or immune system of a human being, to jeopardize the mission of the white blood cells together with the rest of defense system of a body leaving the body weak and vulnerable to other opportunistic diseases. Examples of this opportunistic diseases are typhoid, Malaria, Tuberculosis and others.

    The reason as to why HIV virus cannot be healed lies entirely in the stature/structure and components of the virus and the components of our bodies. Human beings are part of the primitives or Ape family. For this reason, they possess a very unique cell which is absent in other animal species called the T-cell.

    Taking advantage of this, the HIV virus which owns a very unique trait and capability of adapting to new hosts very quickly by implanting itself in the immunes system cells DNA of a human being and starts replicating itself immediately. It harbors in the T-cells which acts as a home for the virus hence favoring and encouraging its growth and perpetuation. The presence or absence of the T-cell in an organism is the explanation behind why some species get infected by the HIV virus whereas others dont. For instance, mosquitoes dont get infected by the virus despite them sucking blood from HIV positive hosts.

    Can Blood Transfusions Cure Hiv

    Welcome to our science-like weekly feature, “Hey, Science,” in which we will have our most provocative scientific questions answered by real live scientists . No question is too smart for us to tackle, theoretically speaking. This week, experts address a Gawker reader’s wacky theory: Can massive blood transfusions be used to treat AIDS?

    THE QUESTION: This question comes from inquisitive reader Michael, who asks, “Could you cure, or at a minimum delay the effects of, the AIDS virus by simultaneously drawing infected blood and transfusing in ‘clean’ blood into the patient? You would still have tainted blood in the system, but wouldn’t this turn the clock back a bit in regard to how much of the virus is in the person’s blood stream?” What say you, doctorsâcan EXTREME blood transfusions fix HIV?

    Dinesh Rao, assistant professor, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA:

    Not a bad question actually. The issue is that the virus infects T cells and these reside both in the blood and in tissues, such as the lymph nodes and the gastrointestinal tract. So even if one were to entirely rid the blood of the virus , there would be other sites such as those I mention that would still have “reservoirs” of virus. Add to this the difficulty and potential complications of doing the blood exchange, which is done for certain other conditions… And you have a sufficiently bad benefit/harm ratio to make the procedure untenable.

    Michael Poles, associate professor, NYU School of Medicine:

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    Reported Cases Of Hiv Cure Or Remission

    The first rigorously investigated case of a cure was Timothy Ray Brown, who underwent a stem cell transplant to treat leukaemia in 2006, stopped antiretroviral treatment during cancer treatment and has subsequently shown no trace of HIV on numerous highly sensitive tests. Researchers think he cleared HIV because the cancer treatment eliminated HIV-infected T-cells and the stem cell transplant repopulated his body with cells resistant to HIV infection. The stem cell donor had naturally occurring resistance to HIV infection due to the lack of CCR5 receptors on their immune system cells. Timothy Ray Brown died in 2020 following a recurrence of leukemia.

    Researchers stress that these are unusual cases and attempts to replicate them in other people undergoing cancer treatment have failed to date. Stem cell transplants are risky for the recipient and not a suitable form of treatment for people without cancer.

    remission

    The disappearance of signs and symptoms of a disease, usually in response to treatment. The term is often used in relation to cancer, indicating that there is no evidence of disease, although the possibility of cancer remaining in the body cannot be ruled out. In HIV, remission is an alternative term for functional cure. A sustained ART-free remission would boost the immune system to induce long-term control of HIV, allowing a person living with HIV to maintain an undetectable viral load without daily medication.

    Can I Treat A Cold With An Antibiotic

    Here

    Using an antibiotic for a virus, like a cold or the flu:

    • will not cure the virus
    • wont help you feel better
    • will not prevent others from catching your virus
    • will be a waste of your money.

    Many bacterial infections do require an antibiotic however, the type of antibiotic will vary based on the type of infection. An antibiotic either prevents bacterial growth or kills bacteria outright .

    It is very important not to share your antibiotics with someone else. For example, amoxicillin can be used to treat a bacterial strep throat but will not work for some common pneumonias or bladder infections.

    While you may mean well if you share your medicine, the bacteria causing someone else’s infection may not be susceptible to your prescribed antibiotic. In turn, those bacteria may not die and that person’s infection can worsen. Plus, the person you share your antibiotic with may experience side effects or serious allergic reactions from your drug. Overall, sharing any medicine with someone else is risky business.

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    Why Havent Researchers Developed An Hiv Vaccine Or Cure Yet

    A blood test for analysis of HIV.

    Last week, top experts on HIV/AIDS convened in Amsterdam for the 22nd International AIDS conference, and the mood was not great. Even though remarkable advances in treating HIV have led to effective management for many people living with the disease, and its overall incidence has declined, there are signs that the virus could make a troubling comeback.

    “In a perfect world, we’d get a vaccine like the HPV vaccine that was 100% effective and I think that’s ultimately what we’re going to strive for.”

    Growing resistance to current HIV drugs, a population boom in Sub-Saharan Africa, and insufficient public health resources are all poised to contribute to a second AIDS pandemic, according to published reports.

    Already, the virus is nowhere near under control. Though the infection rate has declined 47 percent since its peak in 1996, last year 1.8 million people becamenewly infected with HIV around the world, and 37 million people are currently living with it. About 1 million people die of AIDS every year, making it the fourth biggest killer in low-income countries.

    Leapsmag Editor-in-Chief Kira Peikoff reached out to Dr. Carl Dieffenbach, Director of the Division of AIDS at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to find out what the U.S. government is doing to develop an HIV vaccine and cure. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

    What is the general trajectory of research in HIV/AIDS today?

    Nd Person Cured Of Hiv Thanks To Stem Cell Transplant

    Researchers in the United Kingdom have confirmed that a stem cell transplant has cured a second person of HIV.

    In 2007, Timothy Ray Brown became the first person ever whom doctors declared to be cured of HIV. At the time, they referred to him publicly as the Berlin patient.

    His journey toward a cure was not straightforward. After having received an HIV diagnosis in the 1990s, Mr. Brown received antiretroviral treatment the usual course of action for an HIV infection.

    However, later on, he also received a diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia, for which he eventually required a stem cell transplant.

    As he was looking for a suitable donor match, his doctor had the idea to try an experiment. He looked for a donor with a specific genetic mutation that made them practically immune to HIV.

    Receiving stem cells from this donor, it turned out, not only treated Mr. Browns leukemia but also cured the HIV infection.

    Now, as a study featuring in

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