Drug flushes HIV from cells

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An artist’s impression of a HIV virus particle in the bloodstream.
Credit: Ian Cuming / Getty Images

Human immunodeficiency virus causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome which, through advancing failures of the immune system, allows life-threatening cancers and infections to thrive.

Without treatment, people who contract AIDS typically survive for around three years, but currently antiretroviral therapy can reduce HIV levels in the body to very low or even undetectable levels.

With careful management many people with HIV don’t progress to AIDS and live near normal life spans. But the virus’ tendency to lay dormant in the body prevents it from ever being fully eliminated.

Analyses by researchers in Australia, Denmark and the US have found that a class of drugs called histone deacetylase inhibitors could one day be used with other drugs to “flush out” the remaining virus and be swept away.

The work was published in Nature Communications.

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