Can drugs cure a virus
Feb 22, 2002
I am wondering if current drugs used to treat "HIV disease", can ever be modified to cure a person of the virus. Are there any cases in medical history where drugs have cured viruses? Or have they only been eradicated by vaccines? THX
Response from Dr. Young
Conventional drug therapy for HIV, saddly, does not eradicate the virus. There is certainly hope that with modifications of current therapy or with future strategies (like treatment during acute retroviral syndrome) that we may have eradicative treatments.
We really only have a few viral diseases with drug therapy. For the viral infections that cause latent disease (like herpes or HIV), what we achieve is reduction in the viral burden and illness. This situation can result in lengthy periods of time when there is no symptoms or measurable virus(like the case for Hepatitis C).
The question that you've asked about vaccines is complex; we have many vaccines that can prevent productive infection and disease by a number of viruses (polio, hepatitis A and B, for example); in no case that I am aware of, do we have a vaccine that eradicates chronic viral infection from persons who are already infected. This is the goal of the therapeutic vaccine effort for HIV.
Hope this is helpful. BY
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