HIV: Antibodies kill sleeping AIDS pathogens



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Research: Antibodies kill sleeping HI viruses
11.01.2014

Even though the treatment of HIV infections has made rapid progress in recent years, it has not yet been possible to completely eradicate inactive HI viruses from the body. US researchers now seem to have found a way to kill these sleeping viruses with targeted therapy.

Attacking sleeping viruses The treatment of HIV infections has made rapid progress in recent years. But the problem of so-called sleeping HI viruses, which hide in cells and can strike again after stopping the medication, has not yet been solved. However, US researchers now seem to have found a way in animal experiments to attack these inactive HI viruses too.

No cure Targeted therapy can therefore also kill the sleeping viruses that are escaping the previously common medication in the case of HIV infection. This was shown by researchers around Victor Garcia from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in a study on mice with human immune cells. Even if no cure was achieved with this procedure, the study shows that it is basically possible to reach the reservoir of the pathogen, the researchers write in the journal "PLoS Pathogens".

Viruses survive in reservoirs Antiretroviral therapy (ART) could lower the number of pathogens in HIV patients below the detection limit. However, inactive viruses can survive therapy within cells in so-called reservoirs and can multiply again after stopping the medication. This is why scientists are trying to find ways to activate all pathogens in the body so that drugs can reach them and kill them. The researchers around Garcia used BLT mice, whose entire immune system consists of human cells, to test this.

Mice infected with HIV The scientists infected the animals with HIV and treated them with a cocktail of three drugs. Even though these struck, the researchers still found infected immune cells in all analyzed tissue types, including bone marrow, spleen, liver, lungs and intestine. "It is difficult to analyze HIV values ​​in tissue types in humans, but the simultaneous examination of a wide range of tissues offers important insights into HIV biology," said lead author Paul Denton.

A great step forward In a second step, the scientists wanted to target the host cells including the inactive viruses. They used an antibody with a toxin that reacts to the virus protein Env. HIV-infected cells have this protein on their surface. Treatment with the antibody reduced the number of infected cells to one sixth. This is still not enough for a cure, but the result is a great step forward. "Our work shows that HIV-infected cells can be destroyed anywhere in the body," says Garcia. "More importantly, the BLT system offers a platform that can be used to test practically any new approach to HIV destruction." (Ad)

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