Saturday August 18, 2018

New drug compound may reduce HIV potency

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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.

“OHIV_Virion-enur results highlight an alternative approach to current anti-HIV strategies,” said lead researcher Susana Valente, associate professor at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in the US.

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)

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Computer Simulations can Predict HIV Spread

The researchers also plan to develop public health computational tools to help the agencies track the disease and allocate resources for targeted prevention campaigns

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HIV Aids
Computer simulations can predict the spread of HIV: Study. Flickr

Researchers have found that computer simulations can accurately predict the transmission of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) across populations, aiding in preventing the disease.

The study, published in the journal Nature Microbiology, found that the simulations were consistent with actual DNA data obtained from a global public HIV database.

“We looked for special genetic patterns that we had seen in the simulations, and we can confirm that these patterns also hold for real data covering the entire epidemic,” said lead author Thomas Leitner from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the US.

HIV is particularly interesting to study in this manner as the virus mutates rapidly and constantly within each infected individual, the researcher said.

The changing “genetic signatures” of its code provide a path that can be followed in determining the origin and time frame of an infection, the study found.

HIV
For the study, the researchers used phylogenetic methods, examining evolutionary relationships in the virus’s genetic code to evaluate how HIV is transmitted. Pixabay

The rapid mutational capability of the virus is useful for the epidemiological sleuthing, but is also one of the features that makes it so difficult to tackle with a vaccine.

For the study, the researchers used phylogenetic methods, examining evolutionary relationships in the virus’s genetic code to evaluate how HIV is transmitted.

The research team found that certain phylogenetic “family tree” patterns correlated to the DNA data from 955 pairs of people, in which the transmitter and recipient of the virus were known.

Also Read: Every Three Minutes a Teenage Girl is Infected by HIV — UNICEF

“These HIV transmissions had known linkage based on epidemiological information such as partner studies, mother-to-child transmission, pairs identified by contact tracing, and criminal cases,” the researchers said.

The researchers also plan to develop public health computational tools to help the agencies track the disease and allocate resources for targeted prevention campaigns. (IANS)

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