The world has experienced the triumphs and falls of countless deadly diseases. People have successfully overcome the likes of smallpox, malaria, measles, yellow fever, polio and many more, the cures once and for all eradicating these nemeses from further damaging the population.
Anthony Fauci, M.D., director of U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases defined a cure as a “permanent remission of disease following cessation of treatment.”
In recent years, the disease under the most scrupulous watch for a cure is HIV/AIDS. There are currently 30 HIV antiretrovirals and 11 prevention strategies developed to rid the world of HIV/AIDS. There is one crucial struggle researchers are having: it is unknown how long the virus needs to be in remission after stopping treatment before the person can be considered “cured.”
A recent experiment was completed this summer testing the drug Romidepsin. After a three-week trial, the drug had successfully awakened HIV diseased cells from their latent state, but it unfortunately could not at all decrease the “viral reservoir.”
According to The Body Pro, there are four strategies that have been devised to rid the body of this reservoir. These include gene therapy, stem cell transplants, direct immunotoxic therapy and what was done in the above experiment: attempting to activate latent cells. Conquering this reservoir is vital in completely ending HIV/AIDS.
Despite these experiments, other improvements are constantly being made to the medicine already available. According to an article published on September 16 in AIDS MEDS, a new combination pill of the drug Tenofovir has been formulated to lessen the toxicity in the patient’s body.
This combo pill will deliver more of the medicine to the actual cells that need it, thus leaving less of the drug in the blood stream. Ultimately this will put significantly less strain on bones and kidneys. The efficiency of a drug like this is a small step toward reaching a much loftier goal.
In comparison to 2013, the numbers of incidence and mortality in 2014 have decreased by 35 percent. Ridding the world of the dangers of HIV/AIDS is a process that will continue for years to come, but these small advances give researchers and doctors the hope they need to continue in their search.
– Kathleen Lee