Danish scientists say an HIV cure could come “within months” after promising research pointed to a new strategy for stripping the virus from human DNA and destroying it with the immune system.
The proclamation brought hope from AIDS researchers and generated headlines worldwide, but not everyone is on board with the idea that HIV could be cured in the near future.
Dennis Sifrisvand James Myhre wrote that the Danish research, though promising, is still further away from finding what could be a cure for HIV.
The Danish researchers who said an HIV cure could come “within months” have been testing their findings in the lab and now moved on to human trials. Researchers conducting the same work in the UK are a bit further behind.
Their technique involves releasing the HIV virus from “reservoirs” it creates in DNA cells, bringing them to a place where the body’s immune system can kill them after receiving a vaccine.
”I am almost certain we will be successful in releasing the reservoirs of HIV,” said Ole Sogaard, the senior researcher who is leading the study. ”The challenge will be getting the immune system to recognise the virus and destroy it. This depends on the strength and sensitivity of individual immune systems.”
Sifris and Myhre point out that the clinical trial stage could take “on average 5-8 years from the start of research to final FDA approval. And that’s if nothing goes wrong.”
They find other problems with the idea that an HIV cure could come “within months.”
“Finally, it’s important to note that none of this research points to a preventative vaccine,” they write. “The approach is not meant to prevent infection, and should not detract anyone from maintaining consistent condom use or the proper treatment and management of their HIV.”
While Sifris and Myhre may question the idea that an HIV cure is “within months,” they admit that the Danish researchers have taken “a good first step.”