New Anti-HIV Therapies Needed To Eradicate HIV

levels stabilized, indicating that viral replication persisted. This plateau, they say, suggests that the rate at which cells become infected with newly made virus is approximately equal to the rate at which older infected cells die. "Unless this quasi-steady state eventually disappears with longer periods of therapy or can be overcome by the use of more potent therapies or alternative approaches that block the potential spread of virus within tissues, HIV-1 may never be eradicated," they write.

"...it is sobering to realize," note Dr. Zhang and his colleagues, "that the so-called highly active antiretroviral therapy is actually not always active enough. As we strive to eradicate HIV-1 infection or induce a remission, we must focus on the possibility of further intensifying antiretroviral treatment, even though current therapies are already toxic, costly and complex."

One bright spot in this picture, says Carl Dieffenbach, Ph.D., associate director of the Basic Sciences Program in NIAID's Division of AIDS, is that the technologies developed by these investigators provide "new tools, so that if we ever have a patient in whom it appears the virus has been eradicated, we'll be able to verify that." This ability will become increasingly important, he says, as new and improved drugs shrink the latent reservoir of HIV even further.

The two studies received additional support from two other components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH): the National Center for Research Resources, and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.


Contact: Laurie K. Doepel
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

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