Health: Scientists Develop ‘Kick And Kill’ Approach Against HIV

Image credit: Darwin Laganzon from Pixabay

Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh have come up with a way to not just “kick” HIV cells hiding in the immune system, but to kill the virus as well. While no clinical trials have been done just yet, researchers are calling this yet another step towards coming up with a vaccine.

The new approach takes it cues from cancer immunotherapy, using dendritic cells to induce the immune system to kill HIV. These dendritic cells were engineered to seek, activate, and kill the cells where HIV is hiding. Funding is now being pursued so that clinical trails on humans can begin.

Currently, HIV is controlled through antiretroviral therapy. This requires a daily intake of medications and does not eradicate the virus. Instead, HIV goes into a latent, inactive phase.

While this new development is exciting, scientists are also quick to manage any expectations about finding a cure. Gay Star News quotes HIV advocate and sexual health expert Matthew Hodson, who was excited but also cautious about the development.

“It’s exciting that there are a number of studies underway at the moment that are aiming towards a cure. This new work seems promising but it is very early days yet, as human trials have not yet started,” he said. “Last year’s RIVER study, which followed a broadly similar strategy, ultimately failed to reduce HIV DNA in the body, beyond the level provided by HIV treatment.”

This development follows the ones made last month, when two people were possible made HIV-free. In May of last year, a possible universal antibody for HIV-1 was discovered. Back in 2017, a South African child was also “virtually cured” of HIV after immediately undergoing a 40-week regimen of antiretroviral treatment once she was discovered to have high levels of HIV in their blood. 

How do you guys feel about this new development? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

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  1. TiredOfIt

    We’ve heard this before. Six months ago, UCLA said they were working on “catch and kill.” Gilead will buy it up and “catch and kill” the cure, if it works. They’re making too many billions off of ARVs paid by the taxpayers. A cure would screw up their gravy teain.

  2. Eddie

    Gee, while a cure would be great, if one is found our community will have to go back to hating just the old, fat, and unattractive. They’ll be able to take “clean” out of their profiles.
    *This is tongue in cheek if you didn’t get that*

  3. Doug

    Nothing to get excited about. As long as the pharmaceutical companies are rolling in the money keeping people sick, nothing will change.

  4. Jermyñ

    That truly be a new out look, for over and through out the years, I pray, hope, and steady believe for a cure for hiv . Especially how I was exposed from a person that had it and lied to me.

  5. Eddie

    Wouldn’t a cure be nice. Then our community could go back to just hating the old, fat, and unattractive….they term “clean” couldn’t be used anymore. Sad thing about the gay world. : (

    • Eddie

      I posted twice as the first one wasn’t showing…. and the clean thing, there are a whole lot of other words that could be used. Not one that infers folks with HIV are anything less than whole. If someone means negative, then use the word negative. In a society that is so PC, it just doesn’t fly.

  6. David

    So tired of the “Clean” bitching. It is a common term used when a test is negative. The opposite isn’t “dirty”…people need to to stop with the projection of their own insecurities onto others.

  7. Hunter0500

    Nothing to count on here. It’s all not too much more than theoretical. No clinical studies have been done. No near future plans for FDA approval. Nothing that people who so want a cure will see anytime soon.

    What this type of random reporting does do is bring research money to “researchers” most of whom use questionable/non-viable research protocols. Free advertising for them. But in the end, nothing much for patients.

    As a father who has an adult child with a major disease (not this one, but one where people do the same thing in reporting so called “developments’ and “break throughs!”) these reports are painful. No doctor is going to prescribe anything anytime soon. After a couple of decades, it is beyond tiresome.

    A4A, well meaning as you may be, please stop reporting on non-proven/non-viable “research”.

  8. Lamar

    I we all know, that “if” people are having safer-sex, and as mentioned in the other new thread; not having sex, hiv, especially, will/could be curtailed. PEOPLE in general, are going to just simply have to have more control over themselves, in more ways than one; gonna just have to be more responsible, having that said, good-luck with that!

    Mean while, the “pharm/corps” are just getting wealthier and wealthier, off of the self-imposed victim-hood… ’cause people individually, in general are responsible, right? It comes down to accountability, I’ve always heard, its actually very hard to become infected. I dunno when it comes down to the stats of the southern regions, where most of the new cases are occurring.

  9. Robert Watkins

    On this subject it seems in comments what most have shared has to do with stigma concerning HIV. We have come a long way since 1981 when we were attempting to figure out what this virus actually was. If a person is diagnosed positive, through evolution in research, human trials and new medications we have made much progress to keeping people healthy. In this evolution new news shows closer strides to a cure and brings about hope in the community not matter if diagnosed positive or negative. Latest fact: Let’s not forget that if a person reaches 6 months of viral suppression and has a viral load of 200 or less HIV is 100% NOT transmitted sexually to any sexual partner(s). Antiretrovial Treatment Medication of a positive person can also mean (prevention) of transmission. In hindsight a cure for now until we reach an actual cure in the evolution through new approaches and human trials of new medicines to eradicate HIV/AIDS.

  10. Ray

    As I stated months ago, in another post about a cure, big pharm is making millions/month off hiv meds. They’ll be close to a cure for years to come…

  11. Gary

    I am not hiv/AIDS positive, and honestly my behavior in the 1970’s, 80’s and early 90’s give me no reason to brag I was involved in a lot of reckless behavior, and didn’t even know what being safe was.

    I was ignorant and just plain lucky not to have contracted hiv or any other disease for that matter. But I now do work and fundraising and spend time at the local AIDS clinic…

    On some level I understand the stigma of having hiv/AIDS (I had 2 hemophiliac cousins die from blood transfusions before testing was even done), but guys this is good news. Strides are being made. I know a lot of people who deal with cancer who have the same negative thoughts about a cure for cancer, and the dollars that big pharm and the medical community would lose. I hate to even think on these terms.

    I feel certain that a cure is on its way, and so is an end to hiv transmission.

    One thing that I am now starting work on is testing for everyone and the fact that homelessness contributes greatly to hiv transmissions. There are so many aspects to this disease and the lives of people who deal with it, that I don’t like to cast any negative energy on the progress that is being made.

    If you remember early on, the blame that a cure wouldn’t happen was contributed to the idea that society wanted the entire gay population to die out, so why work for a cure anyway! I think we can all believe that is no longer a valid thought. I wish we could all work to do everything possible to see treatment and cures move forward!

    Don’t lose hope! Most of us will see an end to hiv/AIDS in our lifetime!

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