Researchers have discovered that supplementing existing antiretroviral therapy with a natural compound can reduce the potency of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), thereby halting the progression of AIDS.
HIV-infected patients remain on antiretroviral therapy for life because the virus survives over the long-term in infected dormant cells. Interruption of current types of antiretroviral therapy results in a rebound of the virus and clinical progression to AIDS.
In the study published in the journal mBio, the researchers have detailed that unlike other antiretroviral therapies, a natural compound called Cortistatin A reduces residual levels of virus from the HIV-infected dormant cells, establishing a near-permanent state of latency and greatly diminishing the virus’ capacity for reactivation.
“Prior treatment with Cortistatin A significantly inhibits and delays viral rebound in the absence of any drug,” Valente noted.
“Our results suggest current antiretroviral regimens could be supplemented with a Tat inhibitor such as Cortistatin A to achieve a functional HIV-1 cure, reducing levels of the virus and preventing reactivation from latent reservoirs,” Valente explained.
For the study, the researchers isolated cells from nine HIV-infected participants being treated with antiretroviral drugs.
They found that treatment with the natural molecule reduced viral reactivation by an average of 92.3 percent. (IANS)