Sarah Goddard Staff Writer
Scientists in Denmark believe they are potentially on the right path to finding a cure for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS.
Researchers at The Aarhus University Hospital in Aarhus, Denmark are currently conducting human trials on their new treatment. Their strategy, releases the HIV virus from “reservoirs” within resting DNA cells, bringing it to the surface. Once at the surface, the body’s natural immune system may be able to destroy the virus by being boosted by a vaccine. This technique, which was proven so successful in laboratory testing, resulted in the Danish Research Council awarding the scientists involved, 12 million Danish Kroner ($2.1M USD) to begin their human trials.
Dr. Ole Søgaard, one of the senior researchers involved says that the early signs are “promising”, however “the challenge will be getting the patients’ immune system to recognise the virus and destroy it” He also stressed that a cure is not the same as a preventative vaccine and that raising the awareness of unsafe behaviour, such as the sharing of needles and unprotected sex, needs to continue to be of the utmost importance in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
There are currently 15 patients taking part in the trials, with first results expected to be presented in the second half of 2013. If it is shown that the patients respond well to treatment, the study will then be conducted on a wider scale.