AIDS cure: study sees advance for ‘kick and kill’ strategy

The quest for an HIV cure has received a boost at the world AIDS conference as scientists said they had forced the virus out of a hiding place where it had lurked after being suppressed by drugsThe technique aims to force the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from its last redoubt after it is beaten back by antiretroviral drugs. If the drugs are stopped, HIV usually rebounds within a few weeks and starts once more to infect other immune cells, exposing the body to opportunistic microbes. In a presentation at the International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark described a step forward in the first stage of this process. Six patients who were on antiretrovirals took an anti-cancer drug called romidepsin, which prompted virus production in HIV-infected cells to crank up to between 2.1 and 3.9 times above normal.

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