Tuesday March 26, 2019

Indian Origin Researcher part of team that developed a Test sensitive enough to detect “hidden” HIV

0
//
Indian Origin Researcher part of team that developed a Test sensitive enough to detect “hidden” HIV. VOA

New York, May 30, 2017: American researchers, including one of Indian origin, have developed a test that is sensitive enough to detect “hidden” HIV and yet is faster, less labour-intensive and less expensive than the current “gold standard” test.

HIV virus has a knack for lying dormant in immune cells at levels undetectable to all but the most expensive and time-consuming tests.

“Globally there are substantial efforts to cure people of HIV by finding ways to eradicate this latent reservoir of virus that stubbornly persists in patients, despite our best therapies,” said senior author Phalguni Gupta, Professor at University of Pittsburgh in the US.

Check out NewsGram for latest international news updates.

“But those efforts aren’t going to progress if we don’t have tests that are sensitive and practical enough to tell doctors if someone is truly cured,” Gupta said.

HIV spreads by infecting CD4+ T cells, which are a type of white blood cell that plays a major role in protecting the body from infection.

Once HIV therapy is working, it becomes critical to determine if the HIV DNA being detected by a test could actually create more virus and cause the person to relapse if therapy is stopped.

Follow NewsGram on Facebook

Therefore, the test must be able to show that the virus it detects can replicate — typically by growing the virus from the sample.

To date, the best test available to do this is called a “quantitative viral outgrowth assay,” or Q-VOA.

The new test that Gupta’s team developed is faster, less labour intensive, and less expensive, according to the study published in the journal Nature Medicine.

Called TZA, it works by detecting a gene that is turned on only when replicating HIV is present, thereby flagging the virus for technicians to quantify.

NewsGram brings to you current foreign news from all over the world.

It also requires a much smaller volume of blood, the study said.

“Using this test, we demonstrated that asymptomatic patients on antiretroviral therapy carry a much larger HIV reservoir than previous estimates — as much as 70 times what the Q-VOA test was detecting,” Gupta said. (IANS)

Next Story

Good News! HIV Now Has A Cure Possible

The London man is HIV-free after receiving a stem cell transplant from a donor with a rare genetic mutation that made him resistant to HIV. His cancer has also gone into remission.

0
doctors
Scientists have been searching for a cure for HIV/AIDS for close to 40 years. The director of UNAIDS called news that a man in London has been functionally cured of HIV a "breakthrough." VOA

An HIV-positive man in Britain has become the second known adult worldwide to be cleared of the AIDS virus. At a conference in Seattle, the U.N. agency leading the global effort to end AIDS said the agency is greatly encouraged by the possibility of an HIV-positive man being cured, but there is still a long way to go.

Scientists have been searching for a cure for HIV/AIDS for close to 40 years. The director of UNAIDS called news that a man in London has been functionally cured of HIV a “breakthrough.” Stephane Dujarric, a spokesman for the U.N. secretary-general, made the announcement.

“The breakthrough gives us great hope for the future, but also shows how far we are from the point of ending AIDS with science, as well as the absolute importance to continue to focus on HIV prevention and treatment efforts,” he said.

The London man is HIV-free after receiving a stem cell transplant from a donor with a rare genetic mutation that made him resistant to HIV. His cancer has also gone into remission.

Professor Ravindra Gupta at University College London said the man is now off anti-AIDS medication.

“We waited 16 months before stopping in the post-transplant period just to make sure that the cancer was in remission, the patient was well and that the measures we had of the HIV reservoir in the body showed that there was very, very little virus there, if any at all,” he said.

HIV
“We now have reason to believe that the Berlin patient was not a one-off case… meaning it is possible to nearly, or even completely, eliminate HIV from an infected person,” he said. Pixabay

Gupta hesitates to call it a cure, but this is the second patient to show no signs of the HIV virus after a similar stem cell transplant. The first man was an American treated in Berlin 12 years ago. Dr. Rowena Johnston, director of research at amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, says this second success is significant.

“We now have reason to believe that the Berlin patient was not a one-off case… meaning it is possible to nearly, or even completely, eliminate HIV from an infected person,” he said.

Also Read: World’s Largest Airlines Yet To Work on Their “Emissions Intensity” Goals

Just like the Berlin patient, Gupta says the British man who is being called the “London patient,” also received stem cells from a donor with a rare mutated gene called CCR5.

“If you transplant those cells into someone who already has HIV, you may protect those new cells from infection,” he said. (VOA)