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HIV: New Treatment Discovered Effective Against Infected Cells and HIV via Intravenous Injection

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By Ryan Inoyori

A new potential and powerful treatment against HIV has been discovered by researchers which can disable the AIDS-causing virus, impose prevention and better treatment.

New Potential Treatment

Published online in the journal Nature, it was found that administering a round of potent human antibodies in infected monkeys with a hybrid HIV version caused viral amounts inside their system to drop low or reach undetectable levels that have been sustained for weeks.

New research was conducted by a team at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston wherein virus amounts dropped down to undetectable levels within 3 to 7 days after an intravenous infusion of a single antibody.

"The effect we saw was very profound. It was such an unexpected result, we actually decided we couldn't tell anyone until we did it again," said by professor Dan Barouch of medicine at Harvard Medical School and lead author of the larger study, quoted by Wall Street Journal.

A positive result from the research study suggests a possible new and effective treatment against HIV that could only target infected cells and the virus itself. However, the new treatment discovery requires tests on humans before any commercialisation will be made.

Antibodies Gaining Ace Against HIV

Medical scientists have unlocked powerful antibodies which can neutralise the vast majority of HIV strains that may lead to the pursuit of an HIV vaccine.

"Could we shift over treatment of HIV from taking antiretroviral tablets every day to [having] an injection of monoclonal antibodies every three months? This is a really new wrinkle in a field that needs new wrinkles," said by Francis Collins, director at the National Institutes of Health.

Monoclonal Antibody Therapy

Antibody therapy is commonly used to treat cancer and other conditions. Scientists are now reconsidering the use of monoclonal antibodies to kill HIV-infected cells and virus itself via intravenous injections.

Monoclonal antibodies or mAb bind to targeted cells or proteins which are found in all living organisms. It simulates the patient's immune system to attack targeted cells in an act of neutralisation, elimination or destruction.

Some uses of monoclonal antibody therapy include the following:

  1. Different types of cancers
  2. Rheumatoid arthritis
  3. Multiple sclerosis
  4. Alzheimer's disease
  5. Malignant tumours
  6. Prevent tumour cell growth
  7. Autoimmune diseases
  8. Cardiovascular disease
  9. Crohn's disease
  10. Psoriasis

The newly discovered antibody therapy is great news to the medical world, but implementation of this treatment type would be expensive and impractical unlike with antiretroviral drugs.

"But that's not what this is about. This is about proof of concept, showing you can have an impact on the virus. Once you do that, the obvious thing is to get the body to make these antibodies itself," said by Salim Abdool Karim, director of the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa.

As of now, the new treatment must undergo human clinical trials to determine it's effectivity against the AIDS pandemic before reaching the market. Intravenous injection is the initial method of the treatment, but science may find a way to make it more economic so as to be purchased by the majority of HIV patients around the world.

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