Friday, August 12, 2005

A cure on the horizon?

Good news for a change.

In their study, Margolis and colleagues treated four HIV patients who were on HAART and whose virus had been suppressed for a long time. For four to six weeks, the patients also were given enfurvitide twice daily. This intensified HAART treatment helped to prevent the further spread of HIV. Then, in addition to HAART, the patients were given oral valproic acid daily for three months.

By the end of the trial, three of the patients had a 75 percent reduction in latent HIV infection, the investigators found. The fourth patient developed anemia during the last four weeks of treatment with valproic acid, so treatment had to be stopped.

Although patients still had reservoirs of latent virus after the trial, this approach may one day lead to a cure for HIV. "The ultimate goal of this new treatment is to clear viral infection," Margolis said. "If this pans out, the goal is to have no replication competent virus left in the body, and so therapy could be stopped."
(emphasis mine)

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