After almost 70 years, the world is still searching for a cure for HIV and AIDS. A reliable cure hasn’t been found because the disease mutates too quickly. People who got infected by the disease and the virus compared the experience to receiving a death penalty – nothing could stop it from happening because there is no cure available.
But all this changed when scientists and doctors thought that 2014 could be the year HIV will be cured.
Timothy Brown is the only person in the world thought to have been “cured” of HIV. Mr. Brown suffered from leukemia and received a bone-marrow transplant in Berlin in 2007 and has since lived free of detectable levels of HIV in his bloodstream. Mr. Brown’s donor transplant carried a rare genetic anomaly known to interrupt HIV’s ability to infect white blood cells.
While it may seem that a cure can just be concocted by studying this donor, scientists think it is far too dangerous for every person carrying HIV or AIDS to undergo the transplant. The results have focused attention on a similar genetic mutation as a target for possible gene therapy.
A company in the US has also been trying its best to create a vaccine for HIV. Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. specializes in creating medicines for various diseases and conditions. It is currently holding trials for three potential vaccines for HIV. Although these vaccine trials are in their early stages, experts believe that Inovio’s method of using synthetic DNA to stimulate an immune system response could be a promising new approach to treating HIV. Another thing worth pointing out about these vaccines are they are being tested as both preventative and therapeutic vaccines; this means that they could be used to treat infected and non-infected patients.
Meanwhile, a team of scientists in Germany has succeeded in removing HIV from infected cells, leaving the cells alive and well. These researchers from Dresden Technical University and the Heinrich Pette Institute in Hamburg have created an enzyme that can recognize the virus and eliminate it with 90% accuracy.
Finally, some scientists from Chicago at the International Cannabinoid Research Conference has their own share of research. THC, one of the active ingredients in marijuana, is now being studied as a factor that can be used to treat HIV.
All these ideas sound promising and exciting in the world of medicine and technology. We can only hope that 2014 will really be the year HOV and AIDS will be cured.