New hope for HIV patients

British Scientists are on the verge of finding a cure for deadly AIDS disease, if a new treatment trial is successful.

A British man with HIV hopes to become the first in the world to be cured of the disease by using the pioneering new therapy designed to eradicate the virus, a newspaper has reported.

The 44-year-old is the first of 50 people to complete a trial of the path-breaking treatment, designed by scientists and doctors from five of Britain’s leading universities — universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College London, University College London and King’s College London.

Mark Samuels, managing director of the UK’s National Institute for Health Research Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure, told the paper: “We are exploring the real possibility of curing HIV. This is a huge challenge and it’s still early days but the progress has been remarkable.”

HIV targets the immune system, attaching itself to the DNA of T-cells, where the virus will hibernate and reproduce.

Current antiretroviral therapies (ART) target that process but cannot spot dormant infected T-cells.

The new therapy works firstly by recognising and removing the HIV-infected cells. In the next stage, a new drug called Vorinostat turns the dormant T-cells active so that they can be spotted and then targeted by the immune system.

Worldwide, an estimated 37 million people have HIV.

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