|Note on "Cures"|
The Institute for Applied Biomedicine is developing a new AIDS drug designed to keep the immune system healthy even in the presence of HIV. Initial test results have been unusually encouraging. For more information click here: Back to Immudel-gp120: a New Drug to "Cure AIDS".
It has been known since the early 1980s that AIDS (the collapse of the immune system) is caused by HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection. Consequently, for many people the phrase, "a cure for AIDS," has implied the total removal of HIV from a previously infected person.
As a result, most AIDS research has focused on slowing or preventing HIV's reproduction with the goal of eliminating HIV from the body. There is no way to attack a virus directly. Instead, scientists produce drugs that attack the ability of the virus to reproduce and infect more cells. By preventing HIV from reproducing, and waiting for all infected cells to die of old age, some researchers hoped to ultimately destroy all HIV and infected cells in the body.
Unfortunately, one of the types of cells that HIV infects is nerve cells. Nerve cells, unlike most cells in the body, do not die and get replaced by new healthy cells. Since there is no way for a drug to kill a virus inside a living cell, infected nerve cells stay infected. They persist, able to function, producing new virus at a steady low rate. The only way for a drug to stop this production of HIV would be to kill indiscriminately the person's nerve cells, which is clearly not a workable solution.
Therefore, because it infects nerve cells, HIV is impossible to eliminate completely. Recent research indicates that HIV continues to reproduce even when its levels are below detectable. Almost all researchers now agree that no drug or combination of drugs can make an HIV-positive person HIV-negative again.
In the sense that "a cure for AIDS" means the total eradication of HIV from a previously infected person, we at the Institute for Applied Biomedicine do not believe that a cure for AIDS will ever be developed. However, we do remain optimistic that the drug we are developing, Immudel-gp120, could be "a cure for AIDS" in a different sense.
If Immudel-gp120 continues to be successful, as we and others expect, it will prevent an HIV infection from developing into AIDS, the collapse of the immune system, but would leave the person HIV-positive. Therefore, this drug can be viewed as a cure for AIDS, but not a cure for HIV.
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