AIDS is a disease which we can avoid, prevent but we don’t have the treatment or cure for it. A place where science and technology is making rapid strides towards advancement, science is unable to find a suitable cure for this disease!
Calling the AIDS epidemic “the most important global health challenge in modern history,” more than 50 top scientists pressed their case on Tuesday for a drive to stop the killer disease in its tracks.
Anchored by Nobel Medicine laureate Francoise Barre-Sinoussi, the group unveiled an aggressive research strategy for an outright cure. This objective was once seen as unrealistic and out of reach.
Barre-Sinoussi, who in 1983 helped identify the mysterious virus that causes AIDS, said
Not long ago, few considered the possibility that a cure for HIV infection could some day be possible
Today, “the search for a cure has become a top priority in HIV research,” she said in a statement, hailing a “new optimism” among experts. The blueprint is published in the journal Nature Medicine ahead of a meeting of specialists on July 18-22 at the 21st International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa.
In 2004, AIDS deaths peaked at more than two million.
Last year, the toll was around 1.2 million lives — a decline attributed in large part to the success of antiretroviral (ART) drugs, which reduce the symptoms of people carrying the virus. But less than half of an estimated 37 million people worldwide living with HIV receive therapy. Helping them to grasp that lifeline will require a huge, lifelong commitment. On top of that, the powerful drugs can have toxic side-effects. Those problems are “daunting” and the economic costs “might be unsustainable,” the strategy warned.
As a result, preventing and destroying the virus should be top priorities. On the prevention scoreboard, experimental vaccines show promise, but are probably years away. As for eradication, scientists understand far better now how HIV remains barricaded in tissues — such as the lymph nodes and the gut — after being beaten back by ART therapy, the standard drug cocktail given to HIV patients.
Research has found starting ART therapy early limits the ability of the virus to establish a redoubt. The scientists also outline an array of tactics for identifying how the virus tucks itself away inside the human body, and methods for flushing it out and killing it.