Scientists develop drug that ‘could cure HIV and Aids’
Reseachers in Israel have identified a protein they claim can reduce the virus in infected patients by 97 per cent in just eight days, according to the Times of Israel.
The findings raise hopes for sufferers of a disease that killed more than a million people globally in 2015.
The HIV virus attacks a type of white blood cell known as a CD4, which is used by the body to fight off illnesses like flu.
The virus uses the internal machinery of these cells to effectively take it over and make more and more copies of itself, destroying CD4s in the process.
Once a sufferer’s CD4 cells fall below 200 per cubic millimetre of blood, they are considered to have progressed to Aids.
The new drug was inserted into test tubes containing the blood of 10 Aids patients by scientists at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
The active ingredient, called Gammora by researchers, caused several copies of the virus’s DNA to enter an infected CD4 cell, instead of the usual one or two.
This caused the damaged white blood cell to go into overdrive and self-destruct, leaving it unable to spread the virus any further.
Tests using Gammora will continue amid hopes it will soon be able to kill 100 per cent of infected HIV cells.
HIV is currently treated with drugs taken daily that supress the disease, but there are no known cures.
Abraham Loyter, who helped develop the drug, told Channel 2 in Israel: “With our approach we are destroying the cells, so there is no chance that the virus will awaken one day.
“Because there are no cells, there will be no cells that contain the virus.”