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Attempts to make HIV uninfectious

Aug 9, 2009

Are there any attempts to make the virus uninfectious damaging its structure? I know of a possible genetic trial involving the experimental drug VRX496. The compound seems to destroy HIV once it enter a cell. The approach is innovative and the trials seems very encouraging. The problem is that current VL tests aren't able to measure the effectiveness of this drug since they detect the gag protein and not the envelope. Do you think this could be a major advance in treating the disease?

Response from Dr. Holodniy

Using HIV-like viruses to deliver molecules (in this case antisense RNA) into cells that disrupt HIV replication is an important strategy that is currently being worked on. There is always a danger with this kind of strategy in that when you introduce a virus into a cell and it integrates into the cell genome, you don't know what other things you might be turning on or off. With regard to this specific compound, HIV viral load testing of blood was used as proof of concept showing that viral load levels were decreased after infusion of the compound.

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HIV attacks CD8 cells?

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