Sep 6, 2000
I recently read an article that said the US armed forces medical research team in Indonesia found that HIV+ patients who were infected with scrub typhus have reduced the traceable amount of virus -- they have become invisible on the tests. this reaction was in 2 of ten patients. the report was put out by the BBC and can be found on yahoo's HIV research updates. Sorry, that I do not have more info, but I was wondering how realistic this report may be, and will it provide a low-cost treatment alternative.
Response from Dr. Pavia
I saw the reports in the media as well, but have not seen the full scientific report. It is an interesting observation that may have an important clue about stimulating the immune system to control HIV, but I doubt scrub typhus (a rickettsial infection) will be a treatment.
First of all, 2 out of 10 is a pretty poor response rate for a treatment. Most importantly, scrub typhus is a nasty illness, the effect reported was very short term, and like all scientific observations, it needs to be confirmed in other studies before we can be sure it is not due to chance alone.
Still, we need to look at all the clues and keep learning as much as we can.
Andrew T. Pavia, M.D.
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