Future HIV Treatments

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The following article contains information for those wanting to learn more about potential future HIV treatments. It achieves this by detailing different areas of research, how the treatments may work and why they could be useful.

New antiretrovirals for HIV treatment

There are many new antiretroviral drugs currently being trialled or in development. Some of these represent benefits by having the same effect on the virus as existing drugs but a potentially much lower incidence of side effects. This would be helpful to keep people regularly taking their medication along with improving their quality of life.

There are also others being developed that are more effective than previous versions. This will improve their activity against the HIV allowing them to more effectively fight the virus.

Lastly, new classes of antiretroviral drugs are being developed. This helps to combat the ever growing incidence of resistant strains by attacking the virus in a new way that it is not resistant to. It also allows for new drugs combinations during HAART treatment.

Targeting cells with latent HIV infection

Current HIV treatments prevent the virus from replicating in some way. This means that the disease is never cured because some immune cells remain infected with the virus. If treatment is stopped it will then start replicating again.

If a drug can be developed which forces the dormant virus to start replicating again, the HIV will naturally kill off the infected cells. In conjunction with antiretrovirals it may then be stopped from infecting healthy cells, thus serving as a possible cure for the disease. Drugs using this tactic are currently in the research phase.

Is there an HIV vaccine?

A potential big development that could lead to an effective HIV vaccine would be one which can stimulate the production of broadly neutralising antibodies (BnAbs). These BnAbs, found in some of those naturally resistant to HIV, can neutralise a spectrum of different HIV variations. As this variability is how the virus normally evades the immune system this vaccine could be be used to give people natural immunity to the disease.

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