A swift ‘kick and kill’ for the HIV virus
A new approach to wake this latent virus and destroy it ‘kick and kill’ was the approach of researchers from Cambridge, Oxford and London. Cambridge developed a novel assay to detect whether the latent virus had been depleted, without which it would be difficult to validate any curative effect.
Clinicians, virologists, immunologists and molecular biologists ran a large clinical trial to try and eradicate HIV from infected patients.
The trial which lasted three years looked at 60 men recently diagnosed with HIV. All of them showed a good response to conventional therapy, however, the ‘kick and kill’ approach was not strong enough to reduce the amount of latent virus as measured by Cambridge researchers, and other, assays.
The study however has provided a benchmark from which to trial different combinations of therapies to tackle HIV and investigate new strategies to destroy dormant virus. Meanwhile patients continue to benefit from advances in suppressive therapy which, when successful is giving them a normal lifespan.