Sydney: New studies have given researchers renewed hope that a cure for AIDS may be possible.None of the strategies are easy, proved, or ready. But all involve procedures or drugs already in use and able to be deployed widely if further research bears out the early findings.“Today might be considered a day when the research agenda moves from basic science and the lab into the clinic. It is an absolutely critical advancement,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Steven Deeks, an AIDS researcher at the University of California at San Francisco not directly involved in the studies, as saying.One strategy involves waking up sleeping cells infected with HIV so they can then be killed.Another requires treating people with HIV drugs immediately after infection, which has been tried previously.The third strategy requires stem cell transplantation, a difficult and expensive procedure.The results described by the researchers do not constitute “cure” in the usual sense.In some patients HIV remained detectable in some cells. In others, whether it remained after treatment was uncertain. But that may not make a difference. Most experts believe a “functional cure” - in which the virus persists but the body controls it - would be a huge breakthrough in care.
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