Monday, March 4, 2013

Overlooked HIV Story

While everyone has focused their attention on a baby in Mississippi born with HIV who was "cured", another story out of Melbourne got my attention.  FYI, the only reason I say "cured" is because the child in question still has traces of the virus in her system.

From ABC News (Australia):
Scientists at Melbourne's Alfred Hospital and Monash University say they hope a world-first treatment for HIV could lead to a cure for the virus.

Researchers say they have used a cancer drug to wake up dormant HIV from its genetic hiding place, making it more susceptible to treatment.

Sharon Lewin, the Alfred Hospital's director of infectious diseases, says 20 patients are taking part in a trial.

"The next step is to follow what happens to those viruses once they've been woken up," she said.

"We're going to be following these patients for a further few years and at the same time, try to focus on how to kill the virus once it's been woken up."

Dr Lewin says researches hope the discovery could eventually lead to a cure for the virus.

"It's a small step in a massively complicated jigsaw puzzle," she said.

"It's a really important step because there are several important reasons as to why we as scientists and clinicians need to start to think about curing HIV rather than keeping people on lifelong treatment."
The very last sentence is the reason why this story grabbed my attention.  HIV/AIDS are bad enough, but we've seen some diseases morph into superbugs and become resistant to antibiotics.  To reiterate, HIV/AIDS is bad enough on its own.  The last thing we need is a superbug version.

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