A blood cancer drug could take us one step further to a cure for HIV, scientists say.
Venetoclax helps kill “silent” HIV cells and delay reinfections of the deadly virus, Australian researchers found.
The hidden, dormant cells cannot currently be treated by any therapy options and are the reason people with the virus need lifelong medication.
Dr Philip Arandjelovic, of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne, said: “In attacking dormant HIV cells and delaying viral rebound, venetoclax has shown promise beyond that of currently approved treatments.
“Every achievement in delaying this virus from returning brings us closer to preventing the disease from re-emerging in people living with HIV.
Most HIV patients are given antiretroviral therapy (ART) is the standard of care treatment, which stops the virus replicating in the body and allows the immune system to recover.
But the drugs do not target hibernating HIV-infected cells, meaning it can only suppress the virus, not cure it.
If people stop taking ART, hibernating HIV–infected cells reactivate quickly, causing a resurgence of the virus.
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