Scientists and researchers haven’t been able to find a potential cure for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) caused by Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV), despite the large morbidity the disease has in worldwide populations. Currently patients need antiretroviral therapy (ART) for life-long sustenance. Clinical trials abound and a variety of experimental approaches to date have failed to make noticeable impact on the AIDS management. Any effective strategy must take into account of the presence of well-known reservoirs in patient’s cells infected with latent or ‘sleeping’ HIVs that must be eliminated. A recent approach by scientists claims to shed light on novel strategies for curing AIDS. In a study of rare of its kind called RIVER (Research In Viral Eradication of HIV Reservoirs) trial, scientists have uncovered some useful insights on the ‘kick and kill’ approach. The approach consists of reactivating the latent reservoir (the ‘kick’) with the help of agents such as compounds and training the innate immune system of the patients to eliminate the virus (the ‘kill’) by using a combination of vaccines and therapies.
Patients on ART will have to continue with Therapy, Results Reveal
The results revealed recently in the International AIDS Conference 2018 (the findings were uncovered to researchers in April 2018) found that half of the respondents on ART when given the ‘kick and kill’ drugs were definitely not at lower risk than those on ART alone. This simply means that patients who are undergoing ART will still need to continue with it for the rest of their lives. Of note, the trial is conducted by the CHERUB collaboration, an alliance of HIV researchers from across four universities and participated by as many as six centers in U.K.
Findings generate New Ideas for better Trials paving way to Potential Cure for HIV-AIDS
The results, through largely disappointing, sheds will inevitable generated fresh ideas for making future trails more effective and useful, contend the investigators.
A combination of two medicines were used to test the kick and kill approach. The researchers used two vaccines—ChAdV63.HIVconsv and MVA.HIVconsv.—to train the patient’s immune system to recognize and eliminate the virus and a drug to stir the sleeping reservoir cells hidden by HIV. Though a potential cure still evades these researchers, they are hopeful that the approach and the scale on which the randomized controlled trial could pave way to better HIV cure trials. The interventional strategies used were absolutely safe so were the safety of the combination of the drugs used on partcipants. The vaccines used scored well on the immunogenicity. The next step would be to test better kick and kill drugs, possibly the advanced versions of the vaccines.