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article imageToxin success in wiping out HIV

By Tim Sandle     Jan 11, 2014 in Science
An antibody-toxin combination has shown shown success in killing residual traces of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) hiding out in the organs of mice.
Researchers have designed an antibody that seeks out a viral envelope protein expressed by cells infected with HIV. The scientists then tacked on to this infection-homing device a toxin that destroys the cell. The therapy has been tested out on HIV-infected model mice.
Discussing the research, lead scientist J. Victor Garcia of the University of North Carolina told the L.A. Times that the trials have been very successful: "Everywhere we look, the antibody is able to kill those infected cells. Our work provides evidence that HIV-infected cells can be tracked down and destroyed throughout the body."
However, how this research translates to human treatment is not known. A number of other studies will be needed before any firm conclusions can be reached.
The findings have been published in the journal PLOS Pathogens in a paper titled "Targeted Cytotoxic Therapy Kills Persisting HIV Infected Cells During ART."
The reason for developing the homing-toxin, is because anti-retroviral therapy is quite good at tamping down the viral load in the blood of people infected with HIV, the virus can still remain inside tissues. Therefore, to ensure the complete removal of the virus a further treatment is required.
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