“Researchers in Australia believe that they have found a potential cure for AIDS. Staff at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research has discovered gene therapy that may be able to help fight this devastating virus. The treatment would involve destroying the virus by stopping a protein from replicating. Current estimates of the number of people who have HIV around the world have risen to 34 million, and 1.7 million people die from AIDS every year.
“Dr. David Harrich, who worked on the Nullbasic gene therapy project at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, points out that the gene therapy has a lot of potential. It would stop the HIV protein and prevent AIDS. However, Harrich is quick to point out that this is a cure for AIDS and not a cure for HIV. The patients who receive the treatment would still be infected with HIV, but the virus would not be active.
“The treatment essentially turns a protein against the HIV virus by stopping replication instead of helping it. The virus would self-destruct and be rendered inactive. Researchers at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research are ready to begin testing the treatment on animals, but studies on humans will have to wait. The scientists may be forced to wait for 10 years or longer before approval is granted to conduct tests on human subjects. In addition, there are several concerns about the potential gene therapy and how people will react to it since it creates a mutated version of the HIV virus.
“Dr. David Harrich has mentioned that the gene therapy would make the HIV virus latent or inactive. This means it would still exist in the body of the infected person, but it would no longer cause health problems, and the immune system would remain strong. HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) causes AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). AIDS does not develop immediately after getting the virus, and many people do not get it for 10 years or longer. Current treatments attempt to control the amount of the virus in the body.
“The Nullbasic gene therapy would offer HIV patients a new way of fighting the disease. Instead of anti-viral drugs that are not always effective, this treatment would attack the ability of the virus to replicate and spread in the body. The treatment may give patients hope of fighting the disease permanently. It is a promising sign that eventually HIV and AIDS will be completely eliminated.